With Jamie Carragher selected ahead of him in the second half of last season, Skrtel’s appearances became limited, and new signing Kolo Toure has also been preferred to Skrtel since Carragher’s retirement.
With Toure sustaining a groin injury in Liverpool’s League Cup win over Notts County, Skrtel got his opportunity to impress both the manager and the fans Sunday - having the difficult task of keeping Manchester United's Robin Van Persie quiet.
Skrtel, however, did more than that. Along with the rest of Liverpool’s defensive unit, Liverpool riled the Dutchman, and helped the team to their third consecutive 1-0 at the start of this Premier League campaign.
Skrtel has been subject to enquiries from Napoli which would reunite the Slovakian with Pepe Reina and Rafa Benitez, but after his performance against Manchester United, Skrtel might just have given himself the opportunity to reclaim his place in the side.
On Sunday, Skrtel was commanding and for much of the game he, along with central defensive partner Daniel Agger, managed to isolate Van Persie and frustrated the Dutchman to the point where he may became frustrated and risked being sent off towards the end of the first half.
Skrtel’s aerial ability looked first class, his positioning was near faultless – something which has been a particular weakness in his game, and along with the rest of the side he put his body on the line time and again to keep the champions scoreless. He seemed far from isolated as the player’s celebrated a huge win and certainly seems to have a role within the squad – and there's now some extra competition with Tiago Ilori and Mamadou Sakho joining the club.
Of course, one good performance doesn’t make Skrtel a great defender, but it could be the start. And given Liverpool looked relatively solid at the back, they would be silly to unnecessarily meddle with the personnel there, wouldn’t they ? It's certainly a welcome selection headache for Brendan Rodgers.
image: © etyek