18 Sept 2015

Molby Insists: Liverpool must dump 'off-form' £75k-a-week LFC star and 'replace' him with Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho made a triumphant return to the starting XI last night, and after an imperious performance at the heart of Liverpool's defence, he surely has to start against Norwich on Sunday. Who should Sakho replace, though? A straight swap for the similarly left-sided Dejan Lovren is the obvious choice, but according to Reds legend Jan Molby, it's Martin Skrtel who should make way.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo today, Molby explained:

"In terms of who he might replace, I'd like to see Lovren alongside Sakho for a couple of games.

"It's time for Martin Skrtel to have a rest. I don't know if he has been affected by the change in formation and defensive team-mates, but he's definitely off form".

I totally disagree with this.

* Statistically, Skrtel - who reportedly earns £75k-a-week - is Liverpool's most effective defender over the last three years, and completes more tackles, blocks, interceptions, clearances, and recoveries per minute than any other defender (including Sakho).

* Fans rave about Sakho's passing accuracy, but Skrtel regularly achieves an even higher rate of accuracy.

* Like all defenders (including the alleged best in the Premier league, like Kompany, and Terry), Skrtel makes mistakes sometimes, but he is solid and dependable most of the time.

* Indeed, last season, Skrtel outperformed Terry in a number of key defensive areas.

* Skrtel is the one constant in Liverpool's defence over the last 3-4 years, and in the time, he's had to play with countless different partners, and full-backs, as well as an unreliable, panic-inducing goalkeeper.

* Lovren makes far more goal-creating mistakes than Skrtel, who is also capable of weighing-in with important goals.

* Very few (if any) top teams in world football play with two left-sided central defender. Perhaps it can work, but it's a risk.

With Lovren in the team fans (and players, I'm sure) are in a constant state of anxiety over whether he'll make a mistake. That's not the case with Skrtel, who is, for the most part, reliable and dependable.

And as noted, OPTA stats categorically prove that Skrtel is Liverpool's most effective defender, and he very rarely makes mistakes that directly lead to an opposition goal.

As a comparison: a manager will not drop his top-scoring striker just because he misses a few sitters; if that was the case, Suarez would've spent much of his time on the bench (especially in his first 18 months at the club).

With that in mind, why should Liverpool's most effective defender be dropped for making a few mistakes every now and again?

It may not even be an issue, though, as I have a feeling that Rodgers will go with three at the back against Norwich.

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Author: Jaimie K


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