Player profile

Martin Skrtel

Birthdate: 15 December 1984
Birthplace: Handlova, Slovakia
Other clubs: Trencin (2001-04), Zenit St Petersburg (2004-08)
Bought from: Zenit St Petersburg
Signed for LFC: £6.5m, 11.01.2008
International debut: 09.07.2004 vs. Japan
International caps: 67/4 - 18.11.2014
Liverpool debut: 21.01.2008
Last appearance: 23.11.2014
Debut goal: 21.11.2009
Last goal: 13.04.2014
Contract expiry: 2014 (signed August 2010)
Win ratio: 49.22% W: 127 D: 60 L: 71
Honours: League Cup 2012
LFC league games/goals: 197 / 14
Total LFC games/goals: 258 / 16

Player profile

Skrtel's tough tackling, 'no-nonsense' approach and never-say-die attitude quickly brought him a reputation as a cult figure at Anfield. When he joined Liverpool he became the most expensive defender in Liverpool's history despite being a relative unknown outside native Slovakia and Russia where he won the Russian Championship with Zenit St Petersburg in 2007. Skrtel made an unimpressive start to his Liverpool career, coming on as a rather nervous-looking substitute for the last 20 minutes against Aston Villa at Anfield and then being credited with an own-goal in the FA Cup defeat of non-League Havant & Waterlooville five days later. However, he played in 18 of the remaining 23 first-team matches of the season and won over the supporters who had been worried at the anxiety he showed in his early performances. The fans were impressed and even applied quotes formerly only reserved for Chuck Norris to describe him such as: "There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of animals Martin Skrtel allows to live," "Martin Skrtel has never blinked in his entire life. Never" and "Martin Skrtel can piss into gale force winds."

A knee injury suffered against Manchester City on 5 October 2008 disrupted Skrtel's first full season at Liverpool and kept him on the sidelines for two months. When Skrtel was passed fit again he showed his quality and played the majority of Liverpool's games in the second half of the season. Injury restricted Skrtel to appearing in just 29 of Liverpool's 56 competitive matches during the 2009/10 season. He broke the metatarsal in his right foot while playing in the 3–1 victory over Unirea Urziceni in Romania on 25 February 2010. After being in the squad for most of the early-season fixtures, this was a big blow for the uncompromising defender, who must have wondered if he would recover in time to represent his country at the World Cup finals in South Africa. To the surprise of many, Slovakia qualified for the knock-out stage of the tournament, mainly because of a 3-2 victory over defending champions Italy in the final group match. Skrtel played from the start and to the finish of all four of his country's games in South Africa. In playing in every Premier League match for the first time in 2010/11, Skrtel doubled his League appearances from the previous season and took his total of first-team appearances past the century mark. Skrtel added two goals, opening the scoring in the away matches at Tottenham and West Bromwich but both matches were eventually lost by the same score, 2-1. However, Skrtel was still lacking finesse, allowing himself to concede free-kicks in dangerous areas with his roughhouse rugby-style tackling.

Skrtel played in nearly 90% of Liverpool's first-team matches in 2011/12 and had his best season so far, creating a formidable pairing with Daniel Agger in the centre of defence. He got on the scoresheet four times and had clearly refined the rough edges to his game. Two days after the 2012/13 Premier League season started, Skrtel signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, declaring: "I have been here almost four and a half years and I have enjoyed that time here - myself and also my family. So there were no questions about whether to stay or to leave."

The percentage of first-team matches the Slovakian appeared in dropped from nearly ninety to just over sixty in 2012/13. He seemed to suffer something of a crisis in confidence, particularly after a dreadful error gifted an equalising goal to Manchester City's Carlos Tevez in the first home Premier League match of the season in August. It took time for his form to recover after that but he took his total of Liverpool appearances to two hundred when he played against Manchester United at Old Trafford in January. Skrtel, who had opened the scoring in that early-season match against Manchester City, added just one more goal, a fierce volley against Fulham at Anfield in December.

Skrtel played in all but four of Liverpool's competitive matches in 2013/14 and the fact that his manager selected him to start in 36 Premier League matches proved that he was still one of the first names on the team-sheet, even if his central defensive partner often changed. Yet Skrtel still had a mixed season. Seven goals was easily his best total during his six full seasons as a Liverpool player. On the debit side, however, four own goals saw him closing in with seven to Jamie Carragher's unwanted club record of eight. The defensive side of Skrtel's game also came under intense scrutiny for the number of penalties he might have given away under stronger referees. He also showed his volleyball skills, again without punishment from an official, in the closing moments of the crucial Anfield match against Manchester City in April. But the Slovakian is now one of the longest-serving members of the Liverpool squad with nearly two hundred and fifty first-team matches to his name. He won't be thirty years old until halfway through the 2014/15 season so there seems no reason to think that he won't be part of Liverpool's defence for a few more years yet.

Appearances per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals197149380258
2007-2008 14105020
2008-2009 21207030
2009-2010 19226029
2010-2011 381010049
2011-2012 34560045
2012-2013 25107033
2013-2014 36210039
2014-2015 10003013

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

TotalOpponent
16Chelsea
16Everton
15Manchester City
15Manchester United
12Stoke City
12Arsenal
11Tottenham
11Aston Villa
10Newcastle United
10Sunderland
9Fulham
9West Ham United
8WBA
7Wigan Athletic
6Bolton Wanderers
5Wolves
5Blackburn Rovers
5Hull City
5Southampton
5QPR
4Reading
4Real Madrid
4Norwich City
4Swansea City
4Birmingham City
3Cardiff City
3Crystal Palace
2Fiorentina
2Unirea Urziceni
2Utrecht
2Rabotnicki
2Sparta Prague
2Braga
2Gomel
2Middlesbrough
2Blackpool
1Burnley
1Inter Milan
1Standard Liege
1Bournemouth
1Brighton & Hove Albion
1Portsmouth
1Leeds United
1Oldham Athletic
1Anzhi Makhachkala
1Zenit St. Petersburg
1Young Boys
1Hearts
1PSV Eindhoven
1Havant
1Udinese
1Debrecen VSC
1Lyon
1Napoli
1Marseille
1Basel
1Trabzonspor
1Exeter City
Total Started/substitutions
242 Started
40 On the bench
16 Substitute
9 Substituted

Goals per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals14110016
2007-2008 000000
2008-2009 000000
2009-2010 100001
2010-2011 200002
2011-2012 211004
2012-2013 200002
2013-2014 700007
2014-2015 000000

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

TotalStarted/substitutions
15Started
1Substitute
TotalCompetition
14Premier League
1FA Cup
1League Cup
TotalGoal minute period
61-15 minutes
216-30 minutes
331-45 minutes
546-60 minutes
061-75
076-90
091-120
TotalOpen play/Penalty
16Open play
0Penalty

Wartime Appearances / Goals

SeasonAppearancesGoals
No records to display.

Stats note

Milestone Appearances

#DateAgainstStadiumCompetition
121.01.2008Aston VillaAnfieldLeague
5024.05.2009TottenhamAnfieldLeague
10006.12.2010Aston VillaAnfieldLeague
15011.01.2012Manchester CityEtihad StadiumLeague Cup
20013.01.2013Manchester UnitedOld TraffordLeague
25001.10.2014BaselSaint Jakob St.Europe

Milestone Goals

#MinuteDateAgainstStadiumCompetition
15021.11.2009Manchester CityAnfieldLeague

Related Articles

Yossi Benayoun restores balance as Liverpool struggle in muddle

The Guardian match report on Liverpool - Manchester City on 21.11.2009.More

Liverpool in £6.5m swoop for Zenit St Petersburg defender Martin Skrtel

by Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo.More

Related Quotes

Martin Skrtel does not sleep. He waits.
There is no Ctrl button on Martin Skrtel's computer. Martin Skrtel is always in control.
Martin Skrtel destroyed the Periodic Table because he only recognises the element of surprise.
Martin Skrtel is the leading cause of death in Eastern European centre forwards.
There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Martin Skrtel has allowed to live.
Sun Tzu once wrote, "If your enemy is weaker, conquer him. If he is stronger, join him. If he is Martin Skrtel, you're fu***** dead."
Martin Skrtel played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.
The Black Eyed Peas were just The Peas until Martin Skrtel heard their music.
Martin Skrtel has been to Mars. Thats why theres no life on Mars.
When they finally landed on the moon all they found was two empty bottles of gin and Martin Skrtel's wallet
Martin Skrtel can touch MC Hammer.
The reason Baha men haven't made any music since "who let the dogs out?"; Skrtel let the dogs out and he is not to be questioned. Ever.
Czechoslovakia was split into two nations at the request of an eight year old Martin Skrtel
Martin Skrtel frequently donates blood to the Red Cross. Just never his own.
The Berlin wall came down because Martin Skrtel couldnt be arsed to walk round

A few matter of facts from RAWK's forum

The player was in the squad the following season

SeasonShirt #Position
2007-2008 37 Defender
2008-2009 37 Defender
2009-2010 37 Defender
2010-2011 37 Defender
2011-2012 37 Defender
2012-2013 37 Defender
2013-2014 37 Defender
2014-2015 37 Defender
* Note, Since the 1993-94 season players have been allocated a fixed number.

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