Martin Skrtel has been on a bit of a roller coaster these last two seasons, going from one half of England's best centre back pairing to riding the pine pony on a regular basis after a few mistakes left his manager feeling cold. Amidst consistent rumours about a pending exit, Skrtel made his way back into the side and has been a solid presence at the back since returning from injury.
“After last season when I couldn’t get into the team, this season has been very different so far,” said Skrtel in an interview with the Liverpool Echo. “I am very happy. I am playing every game and trying to do my best for the team. Now I have to try to stay in the starting XI. 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 don’t perform there’s someone waiting to take your place.”
Liverpool's depth at Skrtel's position has yet to really cause Brendan Rodgers any true selection issues, as injuries to Skrtel's teammates across the backline have meant a switch to a tactical formation that favours the club's wealth of centre backs. With the return of Glen Johnson on the right and either Aly Cissokho or Jose Enrique on the left, Rodgers now faces the question of whether or not he will switch back to a more traditional back four and drop one of his centre backs. Adding a fully fit and not fresh from international break Daniel Agger to the mix also thickens the plot.
With a match at home against West Brom coming up on Saturday, Rodgers still has a few days to sort things out in training. Skrtel's form of late makes it difficult to consider dropping him if Rodgers goes from three to two centre backs, but it will be increasingly challenging for the manager to leave a fully fit Agger atrophying on the bench and something somewhere will have to give amongst the two of them plus Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure.
This is, of course, exactly the kind of problem we've been hoping for for quite some time now. Hooray for depth!