22 Nov 2013

Quit Shock: €14m LFC star admits he 'thought about leaving' Anfield. Will BR still sell...?

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel is arguably the Reds' standout defender this season, and right now, he's probably one of the first names on Brendan Rodgers' team-sheet. Skrtel is a superb example of how having the right attitude can lead to massive benefits at Anfield, but the Slovakian has admitted that he seriously considered leaving the club over the summer.

Speaking to the Daily Mail this week, Skrtel insisted that he always 'wanted to stay' at Liverpool, but revealed he went through a period of uncertainty. He explained:

"I won’t lie. I thought about leaving.

"But there was something else to think about: I have been here nearly six years. My family like the city and we are settled.

"To leave would not be easy. I said to myself, 'I will fight”. I wanted to show everyone I can play. I am back in the team and doing everything possible to stay there"

Skrtel had a bit of a nightmare season in 2012-13 - he made regular costly mistakes on the field, and then suffered the embarrassment of being unceremoniously dumped on the bench by Rodgers, who replaced him with 35-year old Jamie Carragher.

Some fans argue that the change in LFC's style of play - which involved defenders playing out of the back more - contributed to the demise of Skrtel's form. There may be some truth to that, but as Rodgers explained several times, the lack of vocal leadership/defensive organisation ins defence is the main reason Skrtel fell by the wayside.

I was critical of €14m-rated Skrtel's form last season, and the criticism was deserved, but I have nothing but admiration for the way he's fought back and re-established himself as a massively important part of Liverpool's defensive unit.

One of the most impressive things about Skrtel this season is his composure on the ball. His passing accuracy this season is 91.2% (so far), which is the second best in the entire LFC squad, and 5% better than Daniel Agger, who is often renowned for his passing ability.

Skrtel rarely gives the ball away these days; he plays intelligent balls into midfielders on a regular basis; rarely plays aimless long balls up the field, and also weighs in with the odd goal. He should definitely start tomorrow's game against Everton. Liverpool kept a clean-sheet in the last game, so there's no real justification for leaving Skrtel out of the team.

With regards to transfers - Skrtel may be playing well, but there's still a chance that Rodgers will sell, either in January, or during the summer transfer window. He's in the shop window now, and if the Reds want to get top-dollar, it makes sense to sell Skrtel whilst he's able to attract a big transfer fee.

As a comparison, consider Stewart Downing last season. Vastly improved form, especially in the second half of the campaign; lots of praise from Rodgers; everyone thought he'd done enough to stay, and then the club sold him in the summer.



  1. I don't think it's a "shock" that he thought about leaving.

    I also don't know if the Downing situation is familiar enough, considering that one of the reasons why they got rid of Downing was because of his wages, and another because he simply isn't good enough.

    Nothing but admiration though for the way Skrtel has made BR's job more difficult by playing well. Curious to see how the rotation of CB's works and if one does get sold, who it will be.

    I like the position the club is currently in and the only way I'd accept/tolerate a sale of one of the CB's is if we use it to fund a larger transfer to play on the left wing attack.

  2. Agree that Skrtel is in the shop window, said it the other day. He will be easier to sell if he is playing than sitting on the bench.

    I do not like the idea of Lukaku vs Skrtel so I would sit him on the bench today.

  3. "I won't lie". What a terrific person. I myself would never be able to sell either Skrtel or Agger unless it was in their strong wishes.
    More than that I get the feeling Skrtel is underrated as a player and as a person with in LFC and the YNWA is lacking regarding one of the only truly committed LFC players we can say we still have at this point. For me Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, should be respected way more.

  4. I've made no secret of my desire to see Skrtel sold in recent years, especially with the large fees being touted for his services.

    I was never particularly concerned with his use of the ball though - my concern has always been his tendency to commit the most stupid, unnecessary fouls, and tendency to avoid marking opposition big-men in spite of his supposed reputation as a hard-man.

    Credit to Skrtel, he has played well this season. If the solution is to play 5 at the back, or to sell/bench Agger to accomodate him, I'd still support a sale though.