Liverpool’s latest defeat at the hands of Newcastle United was another sign (as if one were needed) that there are serious problems within their squad. It’s hard to know where to begin really. Perhaps the most important thing Liverpool can do now is to work hard defensively – which brings me to a certain Martin Skrtel.
Skrtel (who has always looked to me like a deflated version of the bloke from TV’s Prison Break) had an awful game against Newcastle on Saturday. I don’t want to pin the blame on any one player, but I think it’s safe to say that he was at fault for Newcastle’s first two goals. In the first case, Andy Carroll beat Skrtel to the ball and knocked it down into the path of Kevin Nolan who slotted home. Yes Carroll is a force, but Skrtel shouldn’t be getting beaten in the air so easily. Truth be told, Skrtel looked low on confidence throughout the game and Newcastle’s offensive players seemed to feed off his negative energy. He was at fault once more for Newcastle’s second goal. Tim Krul hoofed the ball up-field, Skrtel attempted to clear but made a hash of it, allowing Barton to sprint in behind the defender and knocked home another goal.
It was a day to forget for Martin Skrtel and Liverpool fans alike.
As a result of his performances this season, it’s easy to forget that this is an experienced player. He’s made 71 appearances for Liverpool and 47 for Slovakia. So how can it be that he looks so out of place in the Premier League?
His distribution from the back isn’t up to scratch – he often tries to overcomplicate things and ends up giving the ball away. Too many times has he given away a costly and unnecessary free-kick. Despite his build and appearance, Skrtel doesn’t come off well in physical battles with other players. Strikers are too often able to outmuscle Skrtel in and around the Liverpool penalty area.
A lot of Liverpool fans will have looked at Skrtel’s performance this weekend and throughout the Premier League this season and will be looking forward to Daniel Agger’s imminent return. Skrtel has been with the club since 2008, but I’d be very surprised if he was still a Liverpool player by the end of August 2011. I’m confident that youngster Martin Kelly could do a better job for the side if called upon. Beyond that, I’m sure that young Scot Danny Wilson is capable of filling Skrtel’s boots.
Liverpool need money for new players and with the NESV in charge that will necessitate selling players who aren’t making the grade. With Skrtel faultering this season and a number of youngsters snapping at his heels, surely he will not remain a Liverpool player much longer?
Are you with me, or are you preparing a passionate defence for Skrtel? Feel free to leave a comment and remember to follow me on Twitter: @ThePerfectPass for more football discussion.