Jamie Carragher rates Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and Chelsea hero Didier Drogba as the two toughest opponents he faced as a player.
With 228 goals, prolific striker Henry remains Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer ahead of former England international Ian Wright. Drogba, meanwhile, sits fourth on Chelsea’s all-time list with current manager Frank Lampard topping the charts with 211 goals.
‘Thierry Henry was the toughest opponent,’ Liverpool legend Carragher told Sky Sports. ‘I had a lot of good games against Didier Drogba. I think he scored three goals in about 30 games against Liverpool, but people seem to forget that and remember his unbelievable goal in 2006.
‘Sometimes as a defender against some of the top players we had at that time – Alan Shearer, Henry, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie – there’s not a lot you can do in certain situations because they were that good.
‘That goal Drogba scored there wasn’t a lot I could do. I trained with great strikers like Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez every day, so I never came up against them, but I worked out their games.
‘The same thing happened with Drogba because we played him so much. Almost every game we played with Chelsea was either 0-0 or 1-0, every game was on a knife edge.
‘You knew as a defender if you made a mistake it was over because with John Terry at the back, Chelsea wouldn’t concede too much. If you got the first goal you knew you wouldn’t concede too much either.’
Carragher added: ‘There were definitely players I played against that were tougher than expected. I always talk about Kevin Davies, Bobby Zamora, Carlton Cole.
‘No disrespect, they weren’t great strikers, but people thought you shouldn’t give them a kick, but all of them were four inches taller than me, quicker than me and stronger than me.
‘So it wasn’t as easy as you think, but more often than not you would get the better of them because I played in a better team and they wouldn’t get as many opportunities.
‘When you’re playing against a top player there is a bit of give and take, sometimes they would do well, sometimes you would do well, and it would get labelled a great battle. But that wasn’t accepted when you played Bolton or West Ham, the teams those players played for.’