The form of Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has been met with criticism this season, and the Reds center-back has again found himself under the spotlight after being adjudged to have pulled Michael Owen down during the Reds' 2-0 win over Manchester United.

Carragher received a cautionary booking for the offense, but some commentators argued that the challenge was worthy of a red card.

Amid the scrutiny, though, stands a loyal manager, as Rafael Benitez has rushed to defend the 31-year-old.

He told Sky Sports: "Jamie played well.

"He had been having a difficult time but the only thing to do in such a situation is to try again and try again. It was only a question of keeping working hard, and he proved that he is a good center-back and not at the end of his career just yet."

Benitez continued: "He showed what a good defender he still is and [collectively] we have shown that we are not a bad team, not a bad squad. Maybe next April people will again judge us but at this moment we have enough quality."

Alan Dawson, Goal.com

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