Philippe Coutinho‘s stunning 25-yard strike sealed Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over QPR as Anfield waved an emotional farewell to Jamie Carragher on the final day of the season at Anfield.
The result was the perfect send-off for Carragher, who played the 737th and final game of his glittering 17-year Liverpool career.
The Reds stalwart came within inches of a dream finale when his brilliant second-half effort from distance rattled the post.
Jordon Ibe enjoyed an encouraging senior debut and this was epitomized by his first-half assist for the opening goal.
Just two minutes into the encounter, Coutinho was unfortunate to be foiled by a refereeing decision when his attempt was deemed to not have been a goal.
The unmarked Brazilian met a Stewart Downing corner with a header that appeared to cross the line before it was cleared, although appeals for an opener were ignored.
Reminiscent of recent fixtures, Coutinho was an influential force yet again and created a chance for himself in the 18th minute.
The 20-year-old skipped past a challenge with ease before dragging a low shot wide.
The youngster certainly atoned for his wayward shooting in the 23rd minute with a thunderous strike that broke the deadlock.
After being teed up by Ibe, Coutinho wasted little time before hammering an unstoppable 25-yard drive that fizzed beyond the outstretched arm of Robert Green and into the corner.
Liverpool didn’t allow the goal to alter their momentum as they maintained pressure on the visitors for the remainder of the half.
A typically powerful surging run forward from Glen Johnson resulted in the fullback scooping a left-footed attempt over the crossbar. Meanwhile, the Reds restricted QPR to more speculative efforts, such as Andros Townsend‘s audacious long-range shot that flew well wide of the target.
In identical fashion to the opening period, the Reds troubled the visitors’ back line immediately.
The first of a flurry of attempts came from Jose Enrique when the Spaniard’s deflected 25-yard drive was parried away by Green.
A minute later, the energetic Ibe came agonizingly close to finding the net in stunning circumstances. The winger shuffled inside from the left flank before rifling a vicious effort that flashed across the face of goal.
Five minutes into the second half, yet another Reds shot changed course and forced Green into making an improvised save.
Johnson raced into the 18-yard box and fired a powerful shot that ricocheted towards the top corner, forcing the QPR custodian to change direction and palm the danger away.
Shortly after, Carragher came painfully close to capping off his final Reds appearance in simply amazing fashion.
As the loose ball fell to the feet of the defender 25 yards from goal, Carragher swiftly spun and slammed a beautifully struck drive that crashed off the post.
The Reds poured forward in the final quarter of an hour as they looked to end the season on a high.
With 10 minutes remaining, substitute Suso‘s stinging effort from an acute angle could only be parried into the path of Downing by Green. The winger responded with a goal-bound effort that was unfortunately blocked.
As the end of the match approached, Carragher was replaced by Sebastian Coates, allowing the defender to receive a standing ovation from the Reds faithful as he bade a fond farewell to Anfield.
Liverpoolfc.com journalists’ man of the match: Jamie Carragher.
Photo via Liverpoolfc.com