The transfer window may have fans preoccupied with the comings of new players and the goings of old players, but nestled snugly in between are ongoing contract extensions for current players at their current clubs. Liverpool have a handful of players whose contracts run out at the end of the season, but the club are beginning to look at those whose contracts end in 2016 and beyond in order to secure their services for the longer term.
One such player is Martin Skrtel, Brendan Rodgers' unlikely defensive stalwart for the past few seasons. Skrtel's contract expires at the end of the 2015/16 season, but the club are ready to begin discussions over the defender's next contract that could see him stay on Merseyside for at least the next few seasons.
Skrtel celebrated his seventh anniversary with Liverpool over the weekend, an anniversary that was nearly made impossible by falling out of favour with Brendan Rodgers and then subsequently being the centre of many rumours connecting him with a move abroad. But Skrtel managed to win back the heart and mind of his manager, becoming the first defender on Rodgers' team sheet each week, and it's clear that for all of Liverpool's other challenges at the back, the manager rates his first choice CB highly.
The new contract does ask a few questions about Rodgers' ongoing vision for the CB position. In light of so many senior and highly experienced players leaving the club — Daniel Agger, Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina — or being linked regularly with moves elsewhere — Lucas Leiva — by the end of the season, Skrtel will remain one of the most experienced players in what will be a very young squad next season. What this means for Kolo Touré is unclear, as is how Brendan Rodgers plans to use Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho, and Tiago Ilori if Skrtel is thought to be the nailed on starter for several years to come.
The current plan for Liverpool's defense is unclear, so it's unlikely a vision of its future is going to be any more easily understandable. Still, for those who are concerned that Liverpool aren't doing enough to respect or compensate its long time servants or key players, early talks with Skrtel certainly point to an attempt to keep those who are important to the manager within the club long term.