Veteran Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher recently admitted that it's been a difficult season for him and he'll be discussing his Liverpool future with Brendan Rodgers at the end of the season.
"It's up the manager and the club to make a decision about a new contract," said Carragher. "I won't lie, it's been a difficult season for me in terms of starting games."
At 35 years old, Carragher is in the twilight of his Liverpool career, but he's long been regarded as a model professional and there can be little doubt about his passion for the game, so what next for Carra after Anfield, whenever that time may come? talkSPORT explore some potential options...
The traditional route
One of the most obvious routes for Carragher would be attempting to reignite the Liverpool Boot Room tradition of promoting coaches from within. Kenny Dalglish, Bob Paisley, Roy Evans and Ronnie Moran were all famously already on the Liverpool books before managing or coaching the Reds, so encouraging Carragher to work his way up either as an U21 coach or first team assistant at Anfield, with the objective of one day taking the reigns of the first team, would be the perfect way to reunite Liverpool's present with its famous past. Brendan Rodgers himself has called Carragher "one of the best technical players Liverpool have", suggesting he would be more than capable of instructing Liverpool's future stars about the qualities they are expected to develop in order to play the Liverpool way. Rodgers has also suggested that "there is no doubt a role for him later on" at Anfield, so the coaching route seems a likely one for the defender.
A coaching role at Liverpool would be fitting for both Carragher and the club...
The Neville effect
Gary Neville has excelled in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports, continuing that station's record of excellent tactical analysis and insight from a recently retired pro. Rival broadcasters will no doubt be keen to find a Neville of their own, and Carragher could be ripe for the picking in that regard, ready to go head-to-head with his United foe of old. Neville has also shown through his position as part of Roy Hodgson's England staff that punditry can co-exist with hands on work in football, so a spell as an expert for Carra wouldn't rule out the coaching option either.
A continued playing career
If a lack of playing time is the very thing forcing Carragher to consider his Liverpool future, then retiring from the game immediately after leaving the Reds would be counterproductive. The veteran could put his money where his mouth is by moving on to another club and proving he is still capable of playing at a decent level. Step forward, Everton. David Moyes has shown in the past that he knows how to get the best out of older players, with the likes of Tony Hibbert, Louis Saha, Sylvain Distin and Phil Neville all making 30 plus appearances in a season for the Toffees when they were over 30, so joining a coach who has a proven understanding of how to lengthen a veteran's career may not be the worst idea. Crucially, it would also give Carragher the chance to close his career by playing for his boyhood club, something he no doubt dreamed of as a youth. Would he dare turn Evertonian again?
Could this be a reality in the future?
More of the same
Carragher may not have played as often as he would like to this season, but that could change very quickly, as was proven when he was called up for the Arsenal match. Liverpool have been relatively lucky when it comes to their central defensive pairing avoiding injuries in the current campaign, but a major knock to either Daniel Agger or Martin Skrtel could alter their situation dramatically, with Carragher going from idle to essential for the Reds. Sir Alex Ferguson has shown the value of keeping veteran players around at Manchester United, as they can often prove the difference in a time of need, and Brendan Rodgers may yet need to call upon Carragher to bail him out. Don't write Carragher's Liverpool playing career off yet.
What do you think the future holds for Jamie Carragher? Let us know below by leaving a comment...