As Martin Skrtel limped off the Vicarage Road turf a little while before half time during our humiliation at the hands of Watford, Jurgen Klopp was faced with yet another challenge in his already abundant list of problems.
If our new boss already did not have enough issues to take care of, he was faced with another problem, and probably one that he did not want.
Our defence has been leaky this season and Skrtel was the only one of our centre-backs who was performing consistently as a regular fixture in the team. We knew that we needed to find the Slovakian the perfect partner, which is why we were happy to switch between Mahmadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren as our second centre-half. But what we were not prepared for, was the loss of our main defensive pillar, Martin Skrtel himself.
In his nine seasons with us, Skrtel has come a long way to really establish himself as our best defender. A large number of his fellow defenders have come and gone, but Skrtel has been a permanent fixture in our squad for a long time. Now what that also really means is that, he’s not done too well to have been noticed by any other clubs. In the last 10 years or so, we’ve seen Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher. Both of these guys were Liverpool legends to say the least and there was never really any chance of them ever leaving Liverpool for another team. But even then, these two lads had the odd club willing to take a punt and try to lure them away from Anfield.
Daniel Agger is another one of the better defenders that we’ve seen at Liverpool recently. When he was at the top of his game, Barcelona were being heavily linked with him and till this day, there is enough evidence to believe that the Catalans did actually make a move for our former Number 5, only for the player to reject it. In comparison with these chaps, how many teams have gone running to sign Skrtel?
Before you grab your pitchforks and come after me, do understand that I am in no way undermining Martin Skrtel’s value to Liverpool Football Club. He’s been really good for us and we’ll have a tough time finding a way to cope without him. But what I’m trying to say is, can Martin Skrtel command a position as one of the top 10 centre halves in the Premier League? Vincent Kompany, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Laurent Koscielny, Chris Smalling, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are all Premier League centre halves who at the present moment, are better than Martin Skrtel in my humble opinion.
Now, if we’re aiming to be one of the best clubs in the league, don’t you think that at least one of our centre-halves should be one of the top 10 centre-halves in our division? Coming to the end of this piece, what I want to say is that I’m personally a big fan of Skrtel’s. And I’m also aware that we Reds love the guy, but that question that I’m trying to raise is this, is Skrtel really a world class defender, or have we fallen in love with him because there’s no other centre back better than him at our club? I’ll leave you to answer that question.