Liverpool: More to Skrtel Than a Hard Act


Paul Grech

As a young kid, Paul Grech got used to hearing ‘oh no, not him’ when the others found out that he would be playing on their team. He quickly took the hint that he was crap at football. Hopefully, he’s a bit better at writing about it....
[full biography]
21/03/2008 08:30:00.
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It might seem like a distant memory but not more than a couple of months back any news of a delay in Daniel Agger’s comeback would have been met with alarm. The Danish defender, such a key player last season, had sat out most of the season and his presence had been sorely missed.

After a couple of reserves outings it looked as if he might be edging towards a return but instead came the unexpected news that he would miss the rest of the season. Surprisingly, this was met with resignation rather than any feeling of angst.

Such a reaction is largely down to Martin Skrtel. It says a lot about the impact that he has had and how quickly he has his adapted to English football that his presence has significantly dampened the interest surrounding Agger’s absence.

Initially, however, it didn’t look as if this was going to be the case. A debut against Havant and Waterlooville was seen as the ideal way to ease him in but instead Skrtel had a nightmare. At fault in both goals, he struggled every time the ball got near him and looked out of his depth despite the level of opposition.

Typically, there were those who were quick to write him off as another expensive mistake by the manager. They were soon to change their mind as from that game onwards, Skrtel has grown and grown. He was immense against Chelsea whilst he easily seemed to handle anything that Inter managed to throw at him.

Particularly pleasing has been his speed and ability with the ball. Initial reports were that Skrtel was more similar to Jamie Carragher then Agger and to a certain extent that is true: you’re unlikely to find a tougher player or a stronger tackler around. Yet Skrtel is much faster and more comfortable with the ball at his feet than Carragher will ever be.

Regardless how well he has played so far the usual warnings about new players, especially those coming from abroad, still apply. Skrtel is still learning the language, he is getting to know his team mates and has yet to fully take in all of Benitez’s various tactical instructions.

The warning therefore is that he will make more mistakes. Yet that argument works the other way as well: if he’s been so good thus far, imagine what he’ll be like when he’s more settled in.

Latest article feedback


 Bushdy is 1000% right. To me Skrtel can only get better, better than Caragher. His touches are better, he's steadier, fast and v v tough. Just look at his face and he can scare the balls-guards out of his opponent. He not the gentle giant like Sami. He is the other monster like Masch,


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