Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes centre-back Martin Skrtel’s recent dip in form should see Jurgen Klopp reconsider his option of keeping the defender at Anfield beyond the upcoming summer transfer window.
He picked up a hamstring injury as the Merseyside club suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Watford in December. Since then, he has not featured started in the league for the Reds and made just one appearance from the bench.
Liverpool were leading 2-0 during the break against Southampton in the last league tie. Dejan Lovren, who started in the central defending position picked up a yellow card and the German coach felt that the referee was getting influenced by the crowd’s emotions.
This forced the former Borussia Dortmund boss to replace Lovren with Skrtel for the second half. Things changed after the Slovakian was introduced on the pitch as Liverpool went on to give away their two goal lead and were forced to settle for a 3-2 defeat by the Saints.
Alrdidge has pinpointed several incidents this season and has advised Klopp to take a close look while selecting his centre-backs for the next season.
“The second half display against Southampton showed once again that Jurgen Klopp will have big decisions to make at Liverpool in the summer,” Aldridge told the Liverpool Echo.
“He’s already brought one centre half in in the shape of Joel Matip and there will be some people expecting to see another. In truth Martin Skrtel has struggled for a while, we haven’t seen the best of him for some time.”
“Against Watford, he got bullied, got injured and left the pitch. He’s been out for a long time since then.
“Since then he’s only had time with the U21s, where of course he got sent off in the week against West Ham. On Sunday they’ve scored three after he’s come on and he’s been involved in some of the goals and given away a penalty.
“However, I don’t disagree with Klopp’s decision to take Lovren off. At half-time I was thinking Lovren could struggle here, the crowd were baying for blood and it was starting to influence decisions.
“What the manager couldn’t see was what would happen when he brought Skrtel on because he obviously expected him to deliver a solid performance. Hindsight is a wonderful thing in football,” he concluded.