The time is right for Martin Skrtel to depart Liverpool - but should they bring in another defender?

Liverpool's Martin Skrtel during training

Skrtel looks set for a move to Fenerbahce. Here we assess the Reds' current defensive options without him.

Liverpool's manager Juergen Klopp and Martin Skrtel after the matchLiverpool's manager Juergen Klopp and Martin Skrtel after the match

Martin Skrtel is on the brink of ending his association with Liverpool and moving to Fenerbahce, in a move said to be worth £5.5 million, the Liverpool Echo reports

Skrtel is one of the more established figures for the sides, but it makes sense to part ways now with - especially given that he fell out of favour with Jurgen Klopp in the second half of the season. His display in the second half of the defeat to Southampton - where a nightmare would be an accurate description - seemed to seal his fate in the minds of the supporters. 

Liverpool's Dejan Lovren during the press conferenceLiverpool's Dejan Lovren during the press conference

The signing of Joel Matip from Schalke and the improvement in form of Dejan Lovren since Klopp's arrival indicates that they could be the centre-back partnership on the opening day of the Premier League season when the Reds travel to Arsenal - while there is still the uncertainty surrounding the future of Mamadou Sakho. 

One massive positive to be said for Skrtel is his service to the club, having arrived in January 2008 - to be around the club under five different managers says a great deal. There must be something about him. 

But it can't go ignored that as Liverpool's defence has become less and less solid that the Slovakian has been a massive part of that. More often than not he was been one of the centre-back partners tasked with keeping things tight at the back - something which just hasn't happened. As part of that Jurgen Klopp needs to be ruthless and bring one or two Liverpool careers to an end. We've seen it with Kolo Toure, now it's the turn of Skrtel.

Liverpool's Martin Skrtel during trainingLiverpool's Martin Skrtel during training

There is the question, however, of how the Reds plan for next season with their defenders, especially given the uncertainty surrounding Sakho. They will want a swift conclusion to proceedings there. If he's available, that at least gives Liverpool three centre-backs available for the start of the season, some would say they need at least four.

The other factors to consider will be how he uses the returning Joe Gomez - who has yet to play a game under Klopp because of an ACL injury sustained in October. 

Liverpool's Joe Gomez in action with Arsenal's Aaron RamseyLiverpool's Joe Gomez in action with Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey

He arrived at Liverpool billed as a centre-back who played right-back, but started his Reds career as a left-back. Then there's Lucas Leiva, who has played a few games under Klopp as a centre-back, including the League Cup final. If he is retained then one would think he'd be an option. 

It's a shame for Skrtel that his time at the club has come to an end, but changes have been needed at the back line. Along with the signing of goalkeeper Loris Karius from Mainz, Skrtel's imminent departure suggests a rejig at the back is a priority. 

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