No-one can fault the attitude of Martin Skrtel at Liverpool this season. Having been left out in the cold for much of the second half of last term by Brendan Rodgers, coupled with rumours of him moving on, you’d think he would’ve headed to the exit door. That’s not the case.
He wasn’t first choice for the first game of the campaign against Stoke City as Rodgers opted for Kolo Toure and Daniel Agger as his preferred centre back pairing. Skrtel did have an injury problem himself but it looked as though he would be waiting a while because of the two clean sheets in the opening two league games. However, when Toure picked up an injury in a League Cup win over Notts County, Skrtel was called upon against Manchester United at Anfield – and put in one of the most commanding centre-half displays this season.
Ever since he hasn’t looked back and looks as though he is the best centre-half at the club, and that is no mean feat given the defenders that are being left out of the side because of the Slovakian’s good form.
He told Liverpool FC’s magazine: ‘After last season I worked very hard during pre-season to try and get back into the team. But then I picked up a knee injury towards the end of pre-season, so it wasn’t easy for me. But I tried to stay positive. I was saying to myself: just wait for your chance.
‘I recovered well and got that chance against United. I felt it was an opportunity to prove to people and to the manager that I’m able to play. Now I’m just trying hard to keep myself in the team and that’s not easy with six centre-backs competing for two or three places.’
Ever since he has been an ever present at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, no matter what system Brendan Rodgers has tried to play with, Skrtel seems to have become Liverpool’s Mr. Reliable at the back.
With him seemingly being out of favour at the very start of the season, coupled with three arrivals during the summer transfer window it could have been easy for Skrtel to think he was no longer required at Anfield. If anything, it has spurred him on. If Liverpool manage to achieve their objective of Champions League football this season, Skrtel's contribution should not and will not go unnoticed.
image: © etyek