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Increased competition helping Skrtel

Martin Skrtel says he is very happy at the club and that the increased competition for a place is pushing him to consistently show his best form.

 

The Slovakian began the season on the bench having also spent the second half of last season on the sidelines, but an injury to Kolo Toure against Notts County opened the door for him to return for the game against Manchester United at Anfield in September, and he's remained in the starting line up ever since.

 

"After last season when I couldn't get into the team, this season has been very different so far" he explained. "I am very happy. I am playing every game and trying to do my best for the team."

 

Things looked bleak for Skrtel prior to that Manchester United game, not only was he behind Toure and vice captain Daniel Agger, but the Reds splashed out £25m on two other centre backs in Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori.

 

Skrtel appeared to be on his way out of Anfield, with Napoli repeatedly linked with a loan move for the 28 year old, but he's played his way back into the side and is looking to stay there. "Now I have to try to stay in the starting eleven" he explained. "It's up to me to keep proving to the manager that I deserve a place.

 

"There is real competition for places at the back but that's good for everybody. It's important because it pushes everyone to do better.

 

"You have to show what you can do every day in training and you know that if you don't perform there's someone waiting to take your place."

 

 

Would you keep Skrtel in the side or do you want to see Daniel Agger back in or perhaps a different combination?


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Our best back three for me is Toure and Sakho either side of Agger.  I'd give Agger licence to bring the ball out and step into midfield when we have possession.

 

That said, I'm a big believer in rewarding the man in possession of the shirt if he's playing well, and Skrtel doesn't deserve to be dropped right now.  I'd lean towards keeping Skrtel in and telling Agger to wait for his chance, but I can see the merit in being ruthless and just picking the best players for the job.

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We seem to have abandoned, for the time being at least, the emphasis on playing out from the back the last few games. That has helped more than anything if you ask me.

 

352 without someone like Agger who can make the formation work the way it is supposed to seems a bit of a "shooting yourself in the foot exercise" to me. Especially when the opposition are playing with only one or even no center forwards.

 

So while it makes sense to say, "he's been too good to drop", it makes more sense to me to get the balance right between the players and the system. But then those of us who've been watching our center midfield closely have been saying that for a while. To no effect.

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agree^ 

I'd like to see Agger stepping again into first squad ASAP, he has the ability to play as a classic sweeper, sets play from the back and is great with the ball, that's crucial in 352 setup and high defensive line 

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With the return of our full-backs and the (hopefully) imminent return of Coutinho to the first team, I am really hoping that we dispense with the 3-5-2 and go back to the 4-2-3-1 that served us so well in the second half of last season.

 

On current form, I would probably go for Toure and Sakho as the central two, although it's pleasing to have Skrtel and Agger in the wings. Agger is, in my view, the best footballer out of all of them, but he seemed to have some concentration issues before his recent absence from the team through injury. Nothing long-term, I am sure, and the sooner he is back to 100% and unseating one of Toure/Sakho/Skrtel, the better we will be. 

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On current form, I would probably go for Toure and Sakho as the central two, although it's pleasing to have Skrtel and Agger in the wings. Agger is, in my view, the best footballer out of all of them, but he seemed to have some concentration issues before his recent absence from the team through injury. Nothing long-term, I am sure, and the sooner he is back to 100% and unseating one of Toure/Sakho/Skrtel, the better we will be.

We've yet to register a clean sheet when Sakho has started. All of our cleansheets have Agger in common. Just saying . . .

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If we insist on playing three at the back imo agger must start. Let him drive out of defence to punch holes in the opposition midfield. The opposition midfield are finding us too easy to play against, Aggers the best ball carrying defender at the club, three at the back would probably suit him but he's not in the side.

 

I wonder how much this three at the back exercise is in place to fit Brendan's summer signings into the team. The players look more confused by the system than me.

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There has never been a question mark over Skrt's ability, just his form.

 

352 is a formation made to maximise the talents of Enrique and Johnson, I expect to see it around in the future.

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We've yet to register a clean sheet when Sakho has started. All of our cleansheets have Agger in common. Just saying . . .

It's a fair point. A fit and focused Agger is the best defender we have. I don't really mind who of the other three would stand down to make way for him, but one of them should. 

 

I also don't think we've registered a clean sheet since we moved to 3-5-2. 

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It's a fair point. A fit and focused Agger is the best defender we have. I don't really mind who of the other three would stand down to make way for him, but one of them should. 

 

I also don't think we've registered a clean sheet since we moved to 3-5-2. 

Any team should be picked on form. Agger will play soon. the problem with him is his inability to play a full season.

 

352 is the natural way to maximise the talents of this squad, i expect to see much more of it.

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It's a fair point. A fit and focused Agger is the best defender we have. I don't really mind who of the other three would stand down to make way for him, but one of them should. 

 

I also don't think we've registered a clean sheet since we moved to 3-5-2. 

 

 

I agree that Agger is probably our best CB, but I'm also a big believer in picking a team based on form and I'm generally not in favour of dropping someone who is playing well as I don't like the message it sends out.

 

As for not keeping a clean sheet since the change, I suspect that's just a co-incidence as I don't think we've been defending any worse than we were previously.  We do seem to be allowing a lot of shots from 25 yards and we've been sloppy when defending set pieces, but that was also happening before the switch.  I'd also argue that some of those clean sheets we had with a back four were just down to the brilliance of Mignolet.

 

 

Any team should be picked on form. Agger will play soon. the problem with him is his inability to play a full season.

 

352 is the natural way to maximise the talents of this squad, i expect to see much more of it.

 

This is more or less how I see it, but if Rodgers were to just bite the bullet and drop someone (probably Skrtel) to get Agger back in I wouldn't be complaining too much to be honest.

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Any team should be picked on form. Agger will play soon. the problem with him is his inability to play a full season.

 

352 is the natural way to maximise the talents of this squad, i expect to see much more of it.

I agree with your last sentence but is the system used just to maximise the defenders bought? Not to say they are bad players/buys, sakho looks good, Toure has been great and Ilori on the one time ive seen him play, for the u21s looks a good prospect.

 

And if Rodgers has changed the system simply to find a place in the team for these players does this show that the summer transfers have given the team an unbalanced look?

 

Not sure i agree with the view that we've changed to three at the back to utilise the strengths of Enrique and Johnson, as we've continued with the three at the back system when both have been out of the side through injury.

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When you use formations that have unique requirements you don't have the luxury of being able to pick players purely on form. You could very easily argue that not a single one of the CBs have displayed any positive form in the role of a CB in a back 3 who can create and exploit overloads in CM.

 

None of them have demonstrated that they even have an inkling of what that role requires, let alone shown any form in pulling it off.

 

Unless of course the idea behind this 352 is just to get more defenders on the pitch . . .

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Our goals against record shows there is not much wrong with our defencive performance so far.

 

My own view is that Johnson and Enrique are fine footballers, but not specialist defensive full backs, they can offer more to the team. So a 352 would suit them as the wide men.

 

A back three of Skrts, Agger and Toure looks strong to me.

 

I belive that it is players who win and lose matches over and beyond formations. But for me, we don't have two outstanding defensive ful backs, so a three which becomes a five when the opposition are coming forwards makes sense.

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It is a good problem to have being spoilt for choice, I do think on his day agger is our best defender but if sakho/toure and skrtel are ding the job then why change it

 

we can't afford sentiment this season 

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we can't afford sentiment this season

 

What season could we? But I'm sure we'll find a way for sentimentality to undermine objective reality again.

 

Agger looked terrible against Italy - Osvaldo turned him like a top. Against Newcaste we had 5 defenders on the pitch and 3 more on the bench. We can't carry so many CBs - somebody has to be sold in January.

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Our goals against record shows there is not much wrong with our defencive performance so far.

 

My own view is that Johnson and Enrique are fine footballers, but not specialist defensive full backs, they can offer more to the team. So a 352 would suit them as the wide men.

 

A back three of Skrts, Agger and Toure looks strong to me.

 

I belive that it is players who win and lose matches over and beyond formations. But for me, we don't have two outstanding defensive ful backs, so a three which becomes a five when the opposition are coming forwards makes sense.

" a back three of Skirts, Agger and Toure looks strong to me" quote

 

its irrelevant how strong it looks if it means you surrender the middle of the park, as against ten man newcastle, southhampton etc. it gives the opposition to much room to play and nullifies the impact of Gerrard, who's best performance this past six weeks came in an England shirt.

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Our goals against record shows there is not much wrong with our defencive performance so far.

 

My own view is that Johnson and Enrique are fine footballers, but not specialist defensive full backs, they can offer more to the team. So a 352 would suit them as the wide men.

 

A back three of Skrts, Agger and Toure looks strong to me.

 

I belive that it is players who win and lose matches over and beyond formations. But for me, we don't have two outstanding defensive ful backs, so a three which becomes a five when the opposition are coming forwards makes sense.

5 defenders and 2 sitting midfielders seems a bit excessive to me. Especially when your 3rd CB is sweeping rather than overloading midfield. It makes even less sense when you have to sacrifice a creative player. On the wings we're essentially trading the Enrique+Coutinho and Johnson+Moses combinations for Enrique and Johnson alone.

 

Just organize your back four and CMs properly instead, I say.

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5 defenders and 2 sitting midfielders seems a bit excessive to me. Especially when your 3rd CB is sweeping rather than overloading midfield. It makes even less sense when you have to sacrifice a creative player. On the wings we're essentially trading the Enrique+Coutinho and Johnson+Moses combinations for Enrique and Johnson alone.Just organize your back four and CMs properly instead, I say.

I agree with this.

 

It seems like we've changed to a back three simply to get as many of our summer defender signings into the team. The fluidity movement our midfield play is imo suffering as a consequence.

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I thought 3-5-2 would favor Johnson but against Newcastle he constantly drifted inside. Aly at least stayed close to the touch line and managed to get a few crosses in, even if there was no one there to receive them. Part of the rationale of using this formation is to maintain some width in attack, but I don't think we did.

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I agree with this.

 

It seems like we've changed to a back three simply to get as many of our summer defender signings into the team. The fluidity movement our midfield play is imo suffering as a consequence.

I don't think it's as simple as that. I think he's genuinely struggling to get the balance right and our attack is potent enough and our defensive options varied enough, so why not try swapping in a defender for an attacker. It's worth a try. He might just stumble on the perfect setup.

 

The fact that we can't get the balance right without overloading in defense is worrying though.

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I thought 3-5-2 would favor Johnson but against Newcastle he constantly drifted inside. Aly at least stayed close to the touch line and managed to get a few crosses in, even if there was no one there to receive them. Part of the rationale of using this formation is to maintain some width in attack, but I don't think we did.

Yeah, that was most definitely the most disappointing aspect of the setup. Johnson was still playing like there was a winger outside of him. I know everyone thinks he's a shoe-in for 352 because he's perceived as defensively suspect but good in attack, but the roles are very different. He hasn't someone up there with him to play combinations with, or drag defenders away etc. There's no guarantee he'll adapt at all.

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Our main issue with three at the back is the midfield. We have no power, pace or mobility there imo.Gerrards still a very good player but imi doesnt control the midfield anymore, especially without proper support and neither Lucas or Henderson offer thst as part of a three.Moses as a number 10 isnt helping either.If this is the long term plan what happens with Sterling, Ibe etc

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I agree that Agger is probably our best CB, but I'm also a big believer in picking a team based on form and I'm generally not in favour of dropping someone who is playing well as I don't like the message it sends out.

 

As for not keeping a clean sheet since the change, I suspect that's just a co-incidence as I don't think we've been defending any worse than we were previously.  We do seem to be allowing a lot of shots from 25 yards and we've been sloppy when defending set pieces, but that was also happening before the switch.  I'd also argue that some of those clean sheets we had with a back four were just down to the brilliance of Mignolet.

 

 

You're probably right on it being more of a coincidence than an indicator of poor defending and for sure Mignolet kept a fair few out in those early games.

 

I guess I'm just not a big believer in the system (3-5-2) as CBs are usually the least talented ball players in a team and typically don't advance forward towards the opposition half very often. Having three players like that on the pitch rather than two seems to undermine the pressing/passing game that we were trying hard to perfect last season and which I like to see us play. 

 

Would love to see Agger back in the team but yes, dropping players when they're playing well doesn't really send out a good message. That said, I would question whether Skrtel or Sakho are playing at a level that makes them undroppable - although I doubt I would ask the question if it we didn't have a player of Agger's quality on the bench!

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Hate stuff like this.

 

"I used to not give a shit because I don't have any sense of self-worth or affection for the club and fans, but now I do give a shit because I'm scared of looking bad".

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I agree that Agger is possibly our best CB on paper and on his day....But i can remember last "his day" somewhere in 2007.

 

07/08 he was warming the bench behind Skrtel/Carra

08/09 he was warming bench behind Skrtel/Carra...bar injuries

09/10 he was carried y Carra

10/11 he was bwhind Soto in Roys packong order and then behind Skrtel/Carra

11/12 he had solid season, but Skrtel ha d season of his life so Danny was carried by

12/13 his worst season, directly culpable for 12 goals between december and March...but Brendan stood by him even if hr was in worst shape I  can remember him

13/14....two clean shhets with Kolo, but Kolo was saving his ass throughout the two games + Mignolet

ten outperformed by Skrtel who started after six months (credit to Danny he did not make howler against the mancs)

....Then fucked up the Soton goal....

 

....And about jis offensive qualities...he had 1 goal assist in last 3 seasons...and his last last "trademark" shot was against Blackburn in april 2009....

 

So open your eyes fuckers

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