Martyn Skrtel returned for Liverpool U21s on Friday evening after a long absence through an injury picked up at Watford before Christmas.  He played 60 minutes of the 1-1 draw with top of the U21 table Man Utd.  He looked very assured against a United attack that is very dangerous at this level and United only equalised after he had left the pitch.  However it is difficult to see Klopp changing the Lovren and Sakho partnership while it is performing well.

For Liverpool, Jerome Sinclair scored with a very neat finish and Ryan Kent was our best player showing superb control and trickery on a bumpy pitch.  Sheyi Ojo was also dangerous but he was a marked man and was fouled constantly.  Nevertheless he nearly won it with a header that was well saved near the end.

The disappointment for me was Jordan Ibe who seems to be having a crisis of confidence at the moment.  Hopefully he will get over it but I would say Ojo is moving ahead of him in the pecking order.  I’ve also been a little disappointed with Danny Ward since he returned from loan at Aberdeen.  He doesn’t look ready to take on the number 2 goalkeeping role as yet.

Good luck to the U21s in their Cup Semi-Final away to West Ham on Wednesday.

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Realspanishred
Member

Good to hear Martin is nearly back fit again and I do agree it will only be as back up to Lovren and Sakho. But he will get his chance and he will take it.. He is our cb imo and always gives 100% and plays with his heart. Welcome back Martin Skrtel

warrior18
Member

Thanks for the match update huytonian. Big shame what’s happening with ibe at the moment, i think we were all very hopeful for him at one stage, really hope he works through this period in his career and comes back stronger and better both mentaly and as a player.
I’m 50-50 on skrtel, good enough for a backup slot i suppose but is he better than toure, lovren or sakho, i’m not so sure, i think even gomez would push skrtel for a CB spot, i might be being a bit harsh on him there, we should definetly keep him for his experience alone.

Realspanishred
Member

I’m sure it’s just a blip with Ibe. Just lately he seems to run down a blind alley but like you Warrior I shop he can get over it. He was looking like he could become as good if not better than Sterling. Ojo is the same he is having a great spell at moment , he might take over from Ibe if Ibes not careful.

Koped49
Member

Like skertel he gives every thing when playing. Squad is getting stronger as injuries clear up

Realspanishred
Member

I agree Koped49 I don’t think we need to fear any team in the league at the moment, we are playing well and if we can keep it up who knows where we can end up. Our problem is the so called lesser teams.

RedUncle
Member

Skrtel is a difficult issue, I feel. As an individual he’s strong, he’s got a good header and he’s decent on the ball. However, the problem seems to be how he relates to the defenders around him. Think back over recent seasons and the times our defence has been at its weakest has generally been when Skrtel was a centreback. For some reason Sakho, Kolo and Lovren (the latter only recently) seem to click better than him. It may just be a coincidence, numerous factors affect the performance of defence after all, but the pairings of Kolo/Sakho, Kolo/Lovren and Sakho/Lovren seem to have performed better this season than pairings including Skrtel. Things seem to be working alright at the back right now and I wouldn’t be in a hurry to rock the boat.

Realspanishred
Member

I just checked the stats which I’ve never been a fan of because I don’t think they tell the whole story. But I was surprised to see that Skrtel has the worst stats for the season between him Lovren and Sakho.

RedUncle
Member

I can believe that, generally speaking Lovren and Sakho have been improving as the season has progressed but Skrtel has plateaued somewhat.

Realspanishred
Member

I’ve always been a fan of Skrtel he always gave 100% for the cause. I also felt he was blamed for other players lack of attention, Migs and Johnson spring to mind. I for one will be sorry to see him go, you are probably right about him leaving in the summer but we do need to upgrade to younger players if we are going to challenge for the top honors. I wouldn’t mind him being back up but I doubt he would want that.

Koped49
Member

As I said I like him but when your time is up its up. Might get one more season if we can’t find a good back up, but with matip coming then I think some one will have to go, so if it is not him it might be Kolo who I feel we should keep e en be used to help coach the younger guys. But we can’t keep them all especially if we mean to progress.

KLOPPite
Member

He has been a perplexing case for us. Club player of the year a few years ago. Then everybody wondering how in the world he wasn’t conceding penalties with all his shirt pulling and wrestling in the box. Then back to being about the only reliable and stable option in the back. To now an injury plague that has seen him struggle to regain form and fitness.
His career the last few years has seen more ups and downs than the honeymoon suite.
At his age though, I think he could be the one to go depending on his contract. Looking at the financial side of things he should still have some sell value on the market, and Kolos age and one year contracts give us none. And his attitude and form this year could see a renewal and Skrtel sent packing.

RedUncle
Member
Ask yourself why Carra and Kolo were retained into their mid-thirties but perfectly able players younger than them, such as Agger, have been let go. The answer is that Carra and Kolo have been defensive leaders as well as centrebacks and as such their value to the squad has been greater than the usual defender. When Carra left Skrtel took over the role as the first choice senior defender and it’s fair to say at times over the last couple of seasons the defence has looked rudderless. This isn’t an attack on Skrtel’s defensive abilities, I just don’t think he’s a natural defensive leader. I think he played some of his best football when he was the junior to Carra. Since Skrtel’s injury Kolo and Sakho have played the role of the senior defender and I think, in general, the defence has looked more organised and stable. The question now is when Skrtel returns where does hit fit in the hierarchy? Should Kolo and Sakho be deferring to Skrtel or vice versa? Experience tells us that someone has to take the lead and the addition of Matip will just make the situation more complicated. Klopp has a lot to think… Read more »
KLOPPite
Member

Recall that Lovren was brought in to be a “leader” in the back four (even though he said he wasn’t).
Just goes to reinforce what you said about Skrtel not having been a leader

RedUncle
Member

Yeah, I thought about Lovren’s role and the conclusion I came to was that it takes an incredibly strong character to come into a club and take over the leadership role from a fellow defender who has been a crowd favourite for half a decade or so, and one who was seen as the natural successor to Carra. Lovren resembled a rabbit in the headlights when he arrived, barely being able to defend let alone anything else, and I think we ended up with neither of the centrebacks really taking charge of the defence.

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