With Jamie Carragher's contract set to expire at the end of the season, what the future holds for the sixteen-year veteran was always going to become an issue as the season inched towards its final stages. And so, ever so gently, we begin to move towards that conversation following a discussion the vice-captain held with the Times about the difficulties of adjusting to a lesser role.
"The manager has always kept me involved by having me on the bench or bringing me on in different situations," said Carragher, "but I want to start. I’m no different to any other player. I’m just pleased he gave me the nod on Saturday and I’m pleased it went well.
"The manager has been great with me. He has tried to keep me involved. It’s been a difficult season for me in terms of starting games. I’ve played a lot in Europe, the FA Cup and League Cup, but the Premier League is the most important thing for the club and the players. We all want to play in that, and I’m no different."
Though Carragher has played ten times in the league this season, Saturday against Norwich was only his second start. In his seven substitute appearances, only once did he register more than twenty minutes of action.
After starting fully half of Liverpool's league games last season, it's a significant reduction in his involvement, and though he's so far handled it professionally it's clear the idea of spending another season mostly sat on the bench doesn't fire the 34-year-old's passions.
"It’s up to the manager and the club to make a decision like that," he added. "It’s down to them. I’m pleased I got a game at the weekend and I’ll hope to get a few more now. The manager has kept me involved, but the Premier League is the most important thing."
Still, even if he can't completely avoid talking about his situation, Carragher seems intent on making sure it doesn't become a distracting sideshow as has been the case with Chelsea and veteran midfielder Frank Lampard.
"I’ll chat to the manager at the end of the season. I’m open-minded and I’m sure the club are. But the club getting results is the most important thing. It’s not about what I’m going to do, that’s something we can sort out one way or another."
What he'll do come the end of the season may be far from certain for Carragher. What is is that, no matter what he and the club decide on in the end, this won't be the last time questions about Jammie Carragher's future are raised between now and May 19th.