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Vickery: Copa America best XI

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Rodgers: Carragher's role is 'critical'

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has highlighted Jamie Carragher's importance in developing the club's young potential, as he prepares the Anfield stalwart for a coaching role while underlining his continued contribution on the pitch.

Carragher, no longer a first-team regular but still an integral part of Rodgers' plans in the defender's 17th season with Liverpool, has a key function in the nurturing of the new batch of talent coming through according to Rodgers.

The former England international's ability to lead on the pitch combined with his manner off it is an invaluable asset to Rodgers, who is handing Carragher the captain's armband for the Capital One Cup tie against West Brom on Wednesday evening as he utilises the 34-year-old's leadership qualities on the pitch.

"He's critical," said Rodgers, quoted in the Daily Mirror. "The likes of Andre Wisdom look up so much to guys like Jamie.

"Sometimes you can coach players, talk with them, educate them, but when they go out on to the field, if they've got top players around them, that can help them manage the game."

Carragher has featured in two of Liverpool's five Premier League games so far this season, both times as a substitute, with Rodgers using him with greater frequency in the Europa League.

Rodgers recently told Carragher that he did have a playing future at Anfield beyond the end of the current season, if the player was keen to prolong his on-pitch duties at the club.

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