Martin Škrtel has made nearly 300 appearances for Liverpool since he joined the club in January 2008 and approaches his eighth full season at the club. With the departures of Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard, Liverpool require some experience in the first-team squad. Škrtel turns 31 in December and has spent virtually his entire twenties at Anfield. With one year remaining on his current deal, there was a possibility that the Slovakia national football team captain could be on his way.
News of a fresh three-year contract will be good news for fans of the big and combative defender. He may have a new role to play in support of Jordan Henderson in the upcoming campaign, but perhaps that debate is best left for another time. Liverpool can count on Škrtel until the end of the 2017/18 season, and by that time, he'll be 33. This is probably the last major contact of his career, but one can never be sure with the flurry of lengthy contracts being offered to veterans by ambitious clubs this summer.
Liverpool may be dealing with a rebellious Raheem Sterling but have agreed fresh deals with Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Jordon Ibe, Andre Wisdom, Jon Flanagan, and Kolo Touré over the past nine months or so. There's also the early and impressive transfer to consider, but even so, more needs to be done for the club to compete with the clubs that finished above Merseyside's finest.
It will be interesting to see who Brendan Rodgers chooses as his starting centre backs against Stoke City in the first competitive game of the forthcoming season. Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho both favour the left side of defence whereas Škrtel operates primarily as a right-sided central defender in a back four. He excelled as the covering centre back in a back three last season, a role that is suited to his particular strengths as a player. There is still a lot of uncertainty as to what formation Rodgers will deploy, but the matches in pre-season should provide some answers.
Most importantly, Liverpool can count on three more years of Martin Škrtel with the possibility of some stability in the position. Škrtel has his flaws but is committed, durable, professional, and experienced. It is hoped that an excellent campaign lies in wait for the Liverpool stalwart.