Sunday 2nd November 2003 


Liverpool have received a double boost with the news that defender Jamie Carragher and goalkeeper Chris Kirkland have extended their contracts.

Carragher, who is currently sidelined with a broken leg, is now committed to Liverpool until 2007.

Kirkland, who is currently second-choice behind Jerzy Dudek, has pledged himself to the club until 2009.

Manager Gerard Houllier said: "We are delighted to sign up two more promising young players."

The capture of the pair is a boost to Liverpool's long-term planning.

Houllier is expecting to attach striker Michael Owen and new club captain Steven Gerrard to long-term deals soon - which means those two plus Carragher and Kirkland will form the nucleus of the Reds team for years to come.

Carragher is a versatile and competitive defender who will return to Houllier's line-up as soon as he recovers from the fracture sustained against Blackburn earlier this season.

Kirkland, tipped as a future England goalkeeper, returned to the Liverpool team against Blackburn after a spell on the sidelines due to a serious knee injury.

Houllier added: "It shows that the club is not only looking at the future, but the present.

"We have always said we would give a new contract to Carra and this is a club that cares about its players.

"It's a club also that always keeps its promise and I'm pleased that we've managed to sign both of them for the future."

The Liverpool manager added: "We want more success here and there will be probably be some more new signings soon."