Counted out by many Liverpool fans at the start of the season, instead of simply accepting the perceived truth that his time at Anfield was done and he was destined to sit on the bench behind Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel has fought his way back into Brendan Rodgers' plans. Staying healthy has helped, yet even when both Agger and Sakho have been fit, it has been Skrtel who has found himself starting week in and week out.
Some weeks he plays alongside Agger, sometimes Sakho, and in recent matches it's been with Kolo Toure. Meanwhile injuries have led to the fullbacks on either side having come and gone from the starting eleven at a frightening pace. The one thing that has remained the same has been Martin Skrtel, and Liverpool's one constant at the back is looking for a strong response to Sunday's disappointing result against West Brom.
"I am disappointed because we played a very mistake filled game," the Slovak defender told his official website following Sunday's 1-1 draw against a side many had assumed Liverpool would easily best. "We scored early and controlled the game but we have virtually nothing to show for it. We made our mistakes and lost two important points, but nothing can be done, and such things happen in football."
Such things certainly do happen in football. Players once assumed surplus to requirement unexpectedly proving their worth is hardly unheard of, either, and so Skrtel will head into the next match against Arsenal Liverpool's rightly unquestioned first choice centre half, a situation likely to remain the status quo for at least the remainder of the season, even after Sakho and Agger eventually return to action.
"We now have a full week to prepare ourselves for Saturday when Arsenal awaits us," he added. "It will be a very difficult game because Arsenal have played exceptionally this season. They lead the league for a reason, but we believe in our strength and ability and know it is within our power to beat them."
Few would have expected Skrtel in the lineup against Arsenal when the season started—many in fact expect him to be playing for Napoli by now. Instead, whether Liverpool win or not will now owe a great deal to how well the resurgent defender can marshall the shaky, injury-riddled backline he finds himself the anchor of.