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Martin Skrtel

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On 27 January 2013, Liverpool suffered shock 3-2 defeat in the FA Cup against League One side Oldham. After the match, Brendan Rodgers criticised Liverpool's defence- of which Skrtel was a part- of making their striker Matt Smith 'look like Didier Drogba.' Talk circulated that Rodgers was concerned with how his Liverpool defence- and Skrtel in particular- were prone to being 'bullied' by powerful centre forwards, and for the coming games, Skrtel found himself relegated to third-choice centre back, with Jamie Carragher stepping into the side alongside Daniel Agger. On 25 February 2013, Skrtel admitted his frustration at the situation, and suggested there was little he could do to reverse Brendan Rodgers' decision. Speculation immediately began to mount that Skrtel would leave Liverpool in the summer. Skrtel completed the 2012-13 season only performing a bit-part role for the club.
 
On 27 January 2013, Liverpool suffered shock 3-2 defeat in the FA Cup against League One side Oldham. After the match, Brendan Rodgers criticised Liverpool's defence- of which Skrtel was a part- of making their striker Matt Smith 'look like Didier Drogba.' Talk circulated that Rodgers was concerned with how his Liverpool defence- and Skrtel in particular- were prone to being 'bullied' by powerful centre forwards, and for the coming games, Skrtel found himself relegated to third-choice centre back, with Jamie Carragher stepping into the side alongside Daniel Agger. On 25 February 2013, Skrtel admitted his frustration at the situation, and suggested there was little he could do to reverse Brendan Rodgers' decision. Speculation immediately began to mount that Skrtel would leave Liverpool in the summer. Skrtel completed the 2012-13 season only performing a bit-part role for the club.
   
Despite this, Skrtel remained at the club during the summer with Liverpool even rejecting an offer from Napoli- now managed by former coach Rafa Benitez. On 1 September 2013, Skrtel made his first appearance of the [[2013-14 season]], starting the game against Manchester United, coming in for the injured [[Kolo Toure]]. His performance was lauded, with him being named man of the match as Liverpool recorded a 1-0 win. Skrtel retained his place in a new-look back three for the forthcoming matches, and received praise for his consistently commanding performances as he appeared to recapture his best form for Liverpool.
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Despite this, Skrtel remained at the club during the summer with Liverpool even rejecting an offer from Napoli- now managed by former coach Rafa Benitez. On 1 September 2013, Skrtel made his first appearance of the [[2013-14 season]], starting a crucial game against Manchester United, coming in for the injured [[Kolo Toure]]. His performance was lauded, with him being named man of the match as Liverpool recorded a 1-0 win.
   
 
Skrtel cemented his place in the Liverpool team, and netted his first goal of the season on 9 November 2013 in a home 4-0 win against Fulham, powering in a header from a Steven Gerrard corner. On 1 December 2013, Skrtel netted an own goal in Liverpool's disappointing 3-1 defeat against Hull. Many also credited him with a second own goal in the match as Jake Livermore's opener took a wicked deflection off the Liverpool centre back. Skrtel scored another own goal later on 7 December 2013, prodding a cross past [[Simon Mignolet]] in Liverpool's 4-1 victory over West Ham. He scored his second goal of the season on 29 December 2013, giving Liverpool the lead in the 3rd minute away to Chelsea with a tap in from [[Philippe Coutinho]]'s free kick. Liverpool went on to lose 2-1 however, and Skrtel was criticised for allowing Samuel Eto'o to connect with a cross to score Chelsea's second goal. This was one of a number of recent incidents in which Skrtel was criticised for failing to prevent a goal. He was also frequently being spotted pulling the shirts of his opponents in the box at set plays, triggering calls for referees to penalise him by awarding penalties. Skrtel retained his place in the team however, and his performances garnered increasing praise going into early 2014. On 25 January 2014, Skrtel required his head to be stapled part way through Liverpool's FA Cup tie away to Bournemouth. He was able to continue playing in the match however.
 
Skrtel cemented his place in the Liverpool team, and netted his first goal of the season on 9 November 2013 in a home 4-0 win against Fulham, powering in a header from a Steven Gerrard corner. On 1 December 2013, Skrtel netted an own goal in Liverpool's disappointing 3-1 defeat against Hull. Many also credited him with a second own goal in the match as Jake Livermore's opener took a wicked deflection off the Liverpool centre back. Skrtel scored another own goal later on 7 December 2013, prodding a cross past [[Simon Mignolet]] in Liverpool's 4-1 victory over West Ham. He scored his second goal of the season on 29 December 2013, giving Liverpool the lead in the 3rd minute away to Chelsea with a tap in from [[Philippe Coutinho]]'s free kick. Liverpool went on to lose 2-1 however, and Skrtel was criticised for allowing Samuel Eto'o to connect with a cross to score Chelsea's second goal. This was one of a number of recent incidents in which Skrtel was criticised for failing to prevent a goal. He was also frequently being spotted pulling the shirts of his opponents in the box at set plays, triggering calls for referees to penalise him by awarding penalties. Skrtel retained his place in the team however, and his performances garnered increasing praise going into early 2014. On 25 January 2014, Skrtel required his head to be stapled part way through Liverpool's FA Cup tie away to Bournemouth. He was able to continue playing in the match however.
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