For a player who was supposedly on his last legs in Red three years ago, Martin Skrtel has managed remarkable staying power. One of the ones who wouldn't be able to adapt to Brendan Rodgers' system--which has, admittedly, changed drastically--is now the second-longest serving squad member and the defender with the most appearances in Rodgers's tenure as boss.
Whether or not he would continue was apparently up in the air earlier this summer, however, with the club and player some distance apart regarding the terms on a new deal. Given his role as one of the few defenders consistently not terrible or injured, Skrtel had some leverage, and while it might have looked grim for awhile, a deal was finally completed and announced just before the club leave for their preseason tour.
That a deal was struck proved to be the outcome Skrtel had been hoping for, and he's looking forward to further successes at a club where he could spend ten years:
"It is great for me and my family because we have spent seven-and-a-half years in Liverpool and in that time we have fallen in love with the city and the people. Our son was born in Liverpool. I can say the same about the club, the supporters and the people working for the club. To have the deal with Liverpool is a great thing for me and my family.
"It was easy. My priority was always to have a deal with Liverpool. I'm happy we have got the deal and have agreed everything and I've signed the deal. That's always important. When you have your head clear, you can focus and concentrate on your job, the football and the upcoming season. I'm glad I've signed the deal before the tour and now I can focus on doing my job."
His job will be similar to what it's been over the course of the last few seasons, even with the club spending a significant amount of money on defenders. There appears to be a wide gap between those earmarked for the future and those expected to play now, and of the center-backs in the current squad, only Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho have proven themselves to have the necessary quality and consistency for a team hoping to finish in the top four of the Premier League.
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