Player profile

Martin Skrtel

Martin Skrtel

Birthdate: 15 December 1984
Birthplace: Handlova, Slovakia
Other clubs:Trencin (2001-04), Zenit St Petersburg (2004-08), Fenerbache (2016-)
Bought from:Zenit St Petersburg
Signed for LFC:£6.5m, 11.01.2008
International debut:09.07.2004 vs. Japan
International caps:85/5 - 04.09.2016
Liverpool debut: 21.01.2008
Last appearance: 15.05.2016
Debut goal: 21.11.2009
Last goal: 21.11.2015
Contract expiry: 14.07.2016
Win ratio: 49.06% W:157 D:77 L:86
Honours: League Cup 2012
LFC league games/goals: 242 / 16
Total LFC games/goals: 320 / 18

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. 

Skrtel's seventh full season as a Liverpool player saw him pass the two hundred mark in Premier League matches and by the end of the 2014/15 season he was only a few matches short of three hundred Liverpool matches in all competitions. Although he only scored once, a thumping late header into the Kop goal to earn a point against Arsenal shortly before Christmas, the Slovakian defender seemed less clumsy in his own penalty-area. No own-goals against his name was certainly an improvement from the previous season when he had put the ball into his own net four times!  In the summer of 2015 he agreed a new contract at the club, having initially said that the offer he had was unacceptable due to it being of the type usually offered to those players who are older or prone to injuries. Skrtel made only 22 starts in the 2015/16 campaign and put an end to his eight-year association with Liverpool when he signed for Fenerbache on 14 July 2016.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 242 19 15 44 0 320
2007-2008 14 1 0 5 0 20
2008-2009 21 2 0 7 0 30
2009-2010 19 2 2 6 0 29
2010-2011 38 1 0 10 0 49
2011-2012 34 5 6 0 0 45
2012-2013 25 1 0 7 0 33
2013-2014 36 2 1 0 0 39
2014-2015 33 5 3 7 0 48
2015-2016 22 0 3 2 0 27

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
20 Chelsea
18 Manchester United
18 Everton
17 Manchester City
16 Stoke City
14 Aston Villa
14 Arsenal
13 Tottenham
12 Sunderland
11 Newcastle United
11 WBA
11 West Ham United
9 Fulham
9 Southampton
8 Swansea City
7 Bolton Wanderers
7 Wigan Athletic
6 QPR
6 Crystal Palace
6 Blackburn Rovers
6 Hull City
5 Norwich City
5 Wolves
4 Birmingham City
4 Bournemouth
4 Real Madrid
4 Reading
3 Burnley
3 Cardiff City
2 Middlesbrough
2 Watford
2 Blackpool
2 Besiktas
2 Unirea Urziceni
2 Basel
2 Fiorentina
2 Rabotnicki
2 Sparta Prague
2 Braga
2 Gomel
2 Utrecht
2 Rubin
1 Young Boys
1 Anzhi Makhachkala
1 Zenit St. Petersburg
1 Ludogorets
1 AFC Wimbledon
1 Marseille
1 Carlisle United
1 Trabzonspor
1 Exeter City
1 Hearts
1 PSV Eindhoven
1 Havant
1 Udinese
1 Debrecen VSC
1 Lyon
1 Napoli
1 Leicester City
1 Inter Milan
1 Standard Liege
1 Brighton & Hove Albion
1 Portsmouth
1 Leeds United
1 Oldham Athletic
Total Started/substitutions
301 Started
50 On the bench
19 Substitute
11 Substituted
Total Competition
242 Premier League
23 Europa League
21 Champions League
19 FA Cup
15 League Cup

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 16 1 1 0 0 18
2007-2008 0 0 0 0 0 0
2008-2009 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009-2010 1 0 0 0 0 1
2010-2011 2 0 0 0 0 2
2011-2012 2 1 1 0 0 4
2012-2013 2 0 0 0 0 2
2013-2014 7 0 0 0 0 7
2014-2015 1 0 0 0 0 1
2015-2016 1 0 0 0 0 1

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Started/substitutions
17 Started
1 Substitute
Total Competition
16 Premier League
1 FA Cup
1 League Cup
Total Goal minute period
6 1-15 minutes
2 16-30 minutes
3 31-45 minutes
2 76-90 minutes
Total Open play/Penalty
18 Open play

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 21.01.2008 Aston Villa Anfield League
50 24.05.2009 Tottenham Anfield League
100 06.12.2010 Aston Villa Anfield League
150 11.01.2012 Manchester City Etihad Stadium League Cup
200 13.01.2013 Manchester United Old Trafford League
250 01.10.2014 Basel Saint Jakob St. Europe
300 23.09.2015 Carlisle United Anfield League Cup

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 50 21.11.2009 Manchester City Anfield League

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.<br> There is no Ctrl button on Martin Skrtel's computer. Martin Skrtel is always in control.<br> Martin Skrtel destroyed the Periodic Table because he only recognises the element of surprise. <br> Martin Skrtel is the leading cause of death in Eastern European centre forwards. <br> There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Martin Skrtel has allowed to live. <br> 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."<br> Martin Skrtel played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won. <br> The Black Eyed Peas were just The Peas until Martin Skrtel heard their music. <br> Martin Skrtel has been to Mars. Thats why theres no life on Mars. <br> When they finally landed on the moon all they found was two empty bottles of gin and Martin Skrtel's wallet<br> Martin Skrtel can touch MC Hammer.<br> 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.<br> Czechoslovakia was split into two nations at the request of an eight year old Martin Skrtel<br> Martin Skrtel frequently donates blood to the Red Cross. Just never his own.<br> The Berlin wall came down because Martin Skrtel couldnt be arsed to walk round

A few matter of facts from RAWK's forum

Other Clubs

Club Season Club rank League apps League goals Total apps Total goals
Trencin 2002-2004 Slovakia 44 0 44 0
Zenit St. Petersburg 2004 Russia 1 7 0 14 0
Zenit St. Petersburg 2005 Russia 1 18 1 28 1
Zenit St. Petersburg 2006 Russia 1 26 1 37 3
Zenit St. Petersburg 2007 Russia 1 23 1 34 1
Total 118 3 157 5
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