Rodgers eyes Carragher replacement

Brendan Rodgers admits Liverpool may have no other option than to buy in the necessary character to replace retiring defender Jamie Carragher.

The Reds boss has regularly praised the leadership qualities of his 35-year-old vice-captain, who will bring his 16-year professional career to an end in May.

Carragher had been a peripheral figure for the first half of the season but Rodgers brought him back into the starting line-up in January as he felt the side required more steel.

Since then the veteran centre-back has been a virtual ever-present, although his absence through injury for defeat at Southampton a fortnight ago gave Rodgers more food for thought on a suitable replacement.

"We missed his leadership qualities at Southampton and he will come back into the squad for the weekend," said Rodgers of Carragher’s likely return to face Aston Villa on Sunday.

"He is a real role model for all the players – the young and the senior ones – but he has eight games left, let’s not write him off yet."

Carragher will leave a considerable gap when he quits but even with Denmark captain Daniel Agger, Slovakia international Martin Skrtel and Uruguay centre-back Sebastian Coates at his disposal Rodgers admits he may have to look elsewhere.

"It is something we will have a look at but there is no doubt he will be a miss," said the Reds boss, who has been heavily linked with a move for Wales captain Ashley Williams of his former club Swansea as well as Feyenoord’s Stefan de Vrij.

"I will miss him because he is a good man, a lover of football and he puts everything into training every day.

"We are going to be light in that area so between now and the end of the season we have to assess it as that is the one area of the field where we haven’t brought anyone in.

"Naturally we are going to lose Jamie. There is no player who is ever irreplaceable but he is a big loss because you can see his experience and how he leads the line.

"You need someone in there who is vocal and organises the line and he does that remarkably well.

"I also have really good players here – Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel – and between now and the end of the season we know we need to strengthen the group and that is what we will look to do.

"If it is not something we have in the group then we may need that type of character in there who can organise and lead."