8 May 2013

Enrique insists: £33m LFC duo are the 'best in the Premier League'. Agree...?

After only two Premier League starts this year, Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel seems certain to follow Jamie Carragher out of the Anfield exit this summer. For me, it's definitely the right time to sell the Slovakian, but Jose Enrique is convinced that Skrtel can replace Carra next season.

In an interview this week, Enrique conceded it had been a 'difficult year' for £13m-rated Skrtel, but insisted he remained a 'top centre-back'. He told the official Liverpool FC site:

"Last year he [Skrtel] was the best centre-back and this year he is the worst.

"You can have one year good, one year bad. It happened to me.

"I train with Martin every day, and for me Danny (Agger) and Martin are the best centre-back partnership in the Premier League. Martin is an incredible lad and a top player"

I disagree that Agger and Skrtel are the 'best' partnership in the Premier League. Both players are increasingly prone to lapses of concentration, and Skrtel also made costly mistakes last season.

Everton had the same defensive record in the league as Liverpool last season, so using Enrique's reasoning, doesn't that also make Jagielka and Distin the best in the Premier League?

Liverpool have suffered some abject defeats in the league this season, specifically:

* West Brom: 3-0
* Aston Villa: 1-3
* Stoke City: 3-1
* Southampton: 3-1

The common defensive denominator in all these games is Skrtel. It's arguably a matter of when, not if, he leaves, and his poor showing against Southampton in April was probably the final nail in his coffin. Zenit St.Petersburg reportedly want Skrtel, and in March, Russian newspaper Isvestia claimed:

"Zenit are considering the possibility bringing Martin Skrtel back to the club. The National champions plan to strengthen their defensive line up with the return of Skrtel, who will have no problems adapting to the Russian league"

Former Russian footballer Boris Chuhlov believes that Skrtel would make a great acquisition for the club. He told Isvestia:

"Skrtel is good and reliable defender and his return would greatly increased competition for a place in the starting line-up. He would really help the team"

Prior to joining Liverpool, Skrtel - described in February by Ray Houghton as being 'rash' and having 'a lot of deficiencies' - spent 4 years at Zenit, and in a recent interview, he revealed that he still watches out for the club's results. He said:

"I enjoyed my time in St. Petersburg; the the fans and the city were great. This team, which collected a large number of high-profile players, sets a very high goals. I always watch the progress of the Zenit and enjoy seeing their success"

Man City put in a £20m bid for Agger earlier in the season, and after an injury-free season, the Dane's valuation is probably still in that ballpark.

However, unlike Skrtel, Agger is unlikely to leave. Rodgers clearly rates him, and in an interview last night, he pledged his future to the club. He told The Telegraph:

"I still have three years left and I intend to fulfil them. There are always rumours, but who is creating them? I don't know"

Who is creating the rumours? Well, Agger should have a word with Denmark manager, Morten Olsen, who has repeatedly suggested that his captain should move to Barcelona (!)

Bottom line: Skrtel, and to a lesser extent, Agger, cannot be relied upon for season-long defensive solidity (IMO). If one of the two has to leave then Skrtel is probably the more likely candidate, but there's no guarantee that Agger will cut out his regular defensive mistakes with a new partner.

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. If a good offer comes in for Skrtel then I think we should sell him, he is replaceable.

  2. Skrtel is more likely to leave than Agger. He isn't a good stopper.

  3. There are very few players you can rely on for a whole season, my worry is that Skrtel will go somewhere like Arsenal and have another storming season like last year. Keep them both and get a decent experienced back up, also try Kelly and Wisdom.

  4. How can you conclude on the basis of what you have written in the rest of this article that "Bottom line: Skrtel and to a lesser extent, Agger, cannot be relied upon for season-long defensive solidity". Nowhere in the rest of this article have you provided any evidence whatsoever to support this. Agger has had a really strong season at centre back for liverpool (a season in which we have ammassed 15 clean sheets the second most in the league) and he wouldnt have been attracting interest from the likes of manchester city and barcelona if he wasnt a top defender. If hes valued at £20, hes obviously one of the best in the league. With regards to Skrtel there are two problems with the point that you are making, firstly the fact that skrtel played in the list of games that we lost proves absolutely nothing, heres another list of games in which we won convincingly

    Liverpool 3 - 0 Wigan
    Liverpool 4 - 0 Fulham

    Liverpool 3 - 0 QPR

    Common defensive demoninator = skrtel played in all of them, so by your own reasoning hes a top defender.

    And secondly Skrtel throughout the entirity of last season was phenomenal and won our player of the season. How can a player not be relied upon for season long defensive solidity when he produced exactly that last year.

    If your going to make a point, at least make one that is substantiated rather than more sensationalist nonsense.

  5. I can see us hanging on to Skrtel until at least the winter window. Coates will leave, that's a certainty. To bring in two central defenders at the same time is a risk and if I were Rodgers I'd keep Skrtel around just in case my center half I buy in the summer doesn't click with Agger. Sure enough, Agger and Skrtel have not had a great season, especially when paired up, but the advantage is that they know each other.

  6. Knowing each other didn't seem to be an advantage this season though. Skrtel simply does not seem to have his heart into playing it seems.

  7. Skrtel can still be an effective player for us.

    Obviously, it's just taken longer for him to adjust to the defensive style.

    But considering he's shown his mettle in the past, I think he deserves to stick around until at least the winter.

    We should still bring in another top player to be part of a 3 man rotation in the middle, unless we believe that Wisdom or Kelly can step in there now.

  8. MARTIN SKRTEL played no part in the WEST BROM game at home so make that 2-0 loss magically disappear from your disappointing results list that you see fit to beat him with JAIMIE!

  9. Mr. Point Of View2:59 pm, May 08, 2013

    is it the player problem that make LFC defender look tat weak or the tactical itself make LFC more expose ??

    if the problem come from tactical, then no matter whom we replace will same result right?
    if the problem come from player, then who will be the best to fit in?

  10. Mr. Point Of View3:02 pm, May 08, 2013

    agree with u. BUT Not just Skrtel, any of current LFC flop as well.....

  11. And that's a situation we'll be looking to fix by bringing in someone else to partner Agger. But if that doesn't work out it's either better the devil you know and keep Skrtel, play someone young and inexperienced like Wisdom or bring in two new centre halfs and hope at least one of them works. Scenario one just seems the least risk.

  12. He's had his best and worst seasons in two consecutive years but making out like MARTIN SKRTEL is the reason behind these poor results is letting rubbish team performances slide.
    I hope BR isn't doing the same in the dressing room because you don't learn from nightmare results and performances by blaming one individual!
    Early on in the season our build up play was very slow and boring.We were keeping the ball in areas of the pitch that put huge pressure on our defenders to comfortable and composed.It lead to mistakes, some we got away with and some were punished.
    However, as the season has gone on we're playing nearer to the football we played last year.If we continue to play this way MARTIN SKRTEL has a future, if his confidence can be restored!

  13. agger out for the rest of the season gerrard delayed his op allen played needing an operation has rodgers got no consideration for the players health as long as he can say there as been improvement this season,by the way no european football next season some improvement,must give skrtel and wisdom or coates a start against fulham,and let carragher have his final game against qpr ,whats there to lose rodgers has beat kennys points total so mission accomplished ,

  14. Alonso had a bad season, Lucas had a couple, even Gerrard, at the beginning of his career wasn't a world beater.

    The fact that Skrtel, last season, was our best player, lets us all know that he CAN play to a much higher standard than he has this season.

    Form is temporary, class is permanent.

  15. if a bad offer comes in for allen, borrini, assaidi, we should rip there arms off they have been replaced by better players we already had

  16. We beat off competition from AJAX to get ASSAIDI.We should use him as bait when we go in for ERIKSEN!

  17. Wise up Enrique.

  18. on another subject just heard the teams in the fa cup have been asked to wear black armbands to show respect for their retiring chairman but rest assured he will still hold plenty of power on any major incidents

  19. The man who's been chewing on the same piece of gum for the last 26 years is retiring.It's a shame we're in no position to capitalise on MAN U's loss!

  20. Rodgers has not been a resounding success this season.

    He hasn't been an abject failure either.

    Next season will be the real judgment of results. We must improve in the league.

  21. Br has a long term plan to move us forward - Hodgson had no plan long term with regards playing style - Kryagios as a make shift centre forward?! Not the style of play I was brought up on! Kenny was unlucky, I think the fact that he was not a hands on coach was more his downfall when meeting FSG's criteria - and hitting the woodwork 33 times didnt help... if only eh...

  22. i have stated before i hope kenny tells them to stick their job and i still do,(but he will always be a legend somthing imo rodgers is in his own mind}

  23. and style changes. I think Srktel is a great player but not suited to our style, or rather wasnt. last few months though we seem to have let up a bit on having no option other than to pass out of defense and this has been reflected in us keeping more clean sheets.

  24. Kenny was killed by spending over 100mil on players worth no more than 30mil total. Thats what did him in. The fact you couldn`t trust him with another transfer kitty. 100mil... wow still shocked at the waste

  25. nothing unlucky about signing downing for 20mil and carroll for 35mil and hendo for 16. Was that kennys fault or DC`s ? i dont know.

  26. Many things wrong with this team defensively in this set up, not just the central duo (e.g. soft central midfield not doing enough to help) but to date, it does seem like Skrtel isn't at home in this system. Maybe he needs more time. Regardless of who leaves, we certainly need one or two CBs to come in and inject some serious competition at least.

  27. Actually Kenny get 1.5 seasons. And in the last half of his tenure he was able to get us to the FA Cup final but also one of the worst league records in the second half of the season.

    All the while spending 100m. That's why Kenny didn't get 2 seasons. And Roy didn't get 2 seasons because... well... it was terrible football and more importantly, unsuccessful football.

  28. i agree about if we get a new manager it will be another puppet

  29. If the record before xmas was replicated now, there's a very good chance we'd be looking for a new manager.

    But that's the key: there was an improvement since the start of 2013.

    Has this season been perfect? Not by a long shot. It's had it's ups and downs.

    But to paint the season as an abject failure is incredibly misleading.

    We weren't going to challenge for the title this year. And while it would have been nice to get top 4, it wasn't realistic this year.

    I understand your frustration in terms of you feel as though Rodgers wasn't held to the same standards; but that's the thing... the standards were lowered this year.

    And the standards are going to rise as time progresses.