Carra highlights the damning evidence against Martin Skrtel

Date: 10th May 2013 at 6:15 pm
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Carra and Skrtel LFCMUCH has been made about ’s return to the starting line-up with most pointing to Carragher’s organisational influence as a major factor in sorting out a defence that has looked too porous too often this season.

Indeed, since he displaced Martin Skrtel at the core of the reds back line, the veteran has never looked likely to move back to the bench in place of the Slovakian powerhouse.

Carragher has been a constant in Liverpool teams over the last 15 years and his reputation is one that has been built on some great nights and days against some fearsome opponents. The term ‘no nonsense’ is an apt description of the manner in which the Bootle born bully has repelled those seeking to pierce Liverpool’s rearguard. If there were a man of steel award in football, Carragher would surely have been a regular challenger for such an accolade.

Some may even be prepared to believe that he was actually sculpted from molten metal. There’s no doubting that many strikers have felt the wrath of Liverpool’s iron giant and his steely performances since his return appear to have galvanised a frequently suspect defence.

The jilted party is Skrtel with a reputation among fans as a hard man. With his Skeletor face, Skrtel looks like a man you do not want to trouble. The bald head, the stern eyes and 6ft 3” of tattooed intimidation combine to construct an extremely frightening figure. But while his appearance may well be that of a top class centre-half, his performances this season have not quite matched his looks. In fact, his reputation has been harmed by the ease with which he has been battered by some of the league’s more physical opponents.

So let’s look at some stats for how Carragher and Skrtel match up in the league this season:

Carragher Starts

Skrtel Starts

*Liverpool score on the left

Opponent Score * Opponent Score *
Norwich 5-0 Southampton 1-3 Carragher Starts
Arsenal 2-2 WBA 0-3 total goals conceded


Man City 2-2 Man City 2-2 total clean sheets


WBA 0-2 Arsenal 0-2 total goals scored


Swansea 5-0 Sunderland 1-1 goals conceded per game


Wigan 4-0 Man Utd 1-2 clean sheet %


Spurs 3-2 Norwich 5-2 goals scored per game


A. Villa 2-1 Stoke 0-0 win %


W Ham 0-0 Reading 1-0 loss %


Reading 0-0 2-2 points per game


Chelsea 2-2 Newcastle 1-1
Newcastle 6-0 Wigan 3-0 Skrtel Starts
Everton 0-0 Swansea 0-0 total goals conceded


Chelsea 1-1 Spurs 1-2 total clean sheets


Southampton 1-0 total goals scored


W Ham 3-2 goals conceded per game


A. Villa 1-3 clean sheet %


Fulham 4-0 goals scored per game


Stoke 1-3 win %


QPR 3-0 loss %


Sunderland 3-0 points per game


Man Utd 1-2

The defensive record of Liverpool with Skrtel in the team this season is nothing exceptional. In his 22 league starts Liverpool have kept 8 clean sheets with a clean sheet percentage of 36.36%. Liverpool have also conceded 35 total goals in those games making an average of 1.59 goals per game conceded.

When one considers that Liverpool have let in 35 goals in the remaining 14 games if you remove the clean sheets, then a defence containing the Slovak has allowed an average of 2.5 goals per game if the team fails to keep a clean sheet. This is a pretty staggering statistic. In effect, when Skrtel has played and Liverpool have failed to keep a clean sheet, the Reds on average have needed to score 3 goals minimum to win the game.

If we look at Skrtel’s record against the teams that will likely finish above us in the league (highlighted in yellow), LFC have shipped 12 goals in the 6 games he has started in, with those teams scoring twice on each occasion. His record is also 2 draws and 4 defeats from those games. While of course it is the team performance as a whole that obtains results, Liverpool’s record with the Slovakian hard man this season has not been good enough.

What is perhaps even worse for him is that Liverpool’s win percentage in the league has been just 36.36% when he has started, an unacceptable return for any Liverpool side.

By comparison, since Jamie Carragher forced his way back into the reckoning Liverpool’s fortunes have changed. In his total 14 starts Liverpool have boasted 7 clean sheets a 50% clean sheet record. They have also only given the opposition 12 goals in those 14 matches at a rate of 0.86 goals per game.

If we again remove those clean sheets, the team has given up 1.71 goals per game meaning that they only need to score 2 goals on average when they have failed to stop their opponent scoring.

Turning once more to the record against the teams that are above us, Carragher has also played 6 games. This surprising statistic means his record is skewed against him as a greater proportion of his starts have come against stronger opposition. The Reds have let 9 goals in during those 12 matches with a record of 1 win and 5 draws. So Liverpool have converted a record of not being able to win against rivals when Skrtel was in the starting line-up, to a team that is unbeaten against those teams since Carragher replaced him.

Overall, LFC’s total win percentage is 42% with Carragher in the team, not fantastic but equally they have only lost one game in his 14 starts and are currently on a 9 game unbeaten run.

It would not be particularly fair to hold Liverpool’s attacking records against Skrtel, primarily because Carragher has had the benefit of playing in a team containing January signings and Philippe Coutinho. However for the sake of completeness, we can see that Liverpool have scored just 30 times in the 22 games starting Skrtel at a rate of 1.36 goals per game. Carragher on the other hand, has overseen 32 goals in his 14 games at a rate of 2.2 goals per game.

The statistics do not always bear a true reflection of the realities of the player or of the team but the difference between two defenders this season is too stark not to put any weight behind it. Of course Skrtel is disadvantaged by the early games this season where the team had to adapt to Brendan Rodgers’ style of play, though had it not been for his back pass against Man City he would have registered a win against one of the teams above us.

However, Skrtel’s reputation is stained by his results against , Stoke, and Everton. In those matches Skrtel came up against strong imposing forwards in the shape of Benteke, Crouch and Walters, Lukaku and Fellaini and he was embarrassed on most occasions.

Against those teams Skrtel’s Liverpool registered 2 draws and 3 defeats allowing 11 goals to be plundered by the opposition in 5 games. In Carragher’s 3 games Liverpool mustered a win, a draw and a loss against Aston Villa, Everton and West Brom respectively. Neither of these records are good but again the wily Scouser trumps his younger team mate.

All this does not bode well for a man who could be tasked with renewing his partnership with Daniel Agger next season. That a retiring player, whose peak has passed, eased him out of the team quite comfortably must be worrying for the . The question for Brendan Rodgers is whether he believes Skrtel can recapture the form that made him such a sought after signature last summer, or whether it is time to find a new man who is cast from the same substance as Jamie Carragher.

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0 thoughts on “Carra highlights the damning evidence against Martin Skrtel

  • bgilhooley
    3 years ago

    you can say what you like about Skretel but Carragher personifies the overall average nature of Liverpool teams for the last 12-14 years
    At his best Carragher was never quick enough , big enough to dominate the box or have sufficent skills to make even simple 15-20 yards passes to keep the ball moving making it easy for opposition teams to close us down.
    The right attitude and a local accent should never be enough to be a regular in the liverpool team

  • rick
    3 years ago

    What? Are You serious? Skrtel was an utterly embarassing figure for LFC over the last 3-4 yrs. He’s slow, He can’t run with the ball, his technique is poor, He can’t mark physycal strikers, his positioning is really a mistery and his understanding of game is simply poor. Now, You’re breave enough to compare this sort of average centre back with an Iconic Legend like Carra? You need a mental check.

  • Emile
    3 years ago

    Stupid comment, he doesn’t need speed. As for him not being big enough or having sufficient skill makes you someone that have not been watching our games to rate him. Go away …

    Although the stats might not lie, unfortunately I do not agree since his defensive partner Agger shares these same stats. Who is to argue that if Carragher and Skrtel partnered we might also have had a good partnership.

  • T.boier
    3 years ago

    Stats dont say d truth as been said by d writer but to any1 dats bin conversant wit l’puls games dis season..,i tink its pretty obvios skrtel has bin awful…fans kept blamin Reina for his blood-rush aganst city @ d Etihad bt was it a co-incidence dat d equalisin goal was scored @ around d time skrtel came on…besides, Skrtel has an habit of drawin fouls especially wen play isnt dat dangerous..always tendin 2 av his hands around an opponent playa..not 2 sure if he was d 1 or agger dat slipped 4 stokes equalizer @ d brittania bt he sure had a bad game dat nyt…IMO..,Martin is past his prime if an ageing Carragher can displace him in d team..his confidence is gone & he nids 2 go luk 4 it…elsewher

    • Jack
      3 years ago

      Learn to write!

  • Ibrahim
    3 years ago

    The thing Carra had and gave the Liverpool defense was defensive minded intelligence, the ability to organise rally round others in defense to correct positions to provide a solid guard.

    • Steven
      3 years ago

      I totally agree! You can not put a stat on defensive structure, discipline and also a bully attitude!
      Carragher was a rock and proved this season, even in his twilight years, that he has a better central defender brain than most! We conceded far less goals with him in the side and also the defence held up against stronger attackers!
      I think also Pepe after the new year has been better also!

  • Angelos
    3 years ago

    The older fans maybe remember centre backs of Liverpool like Hansen or Lawrenson and understand the reasons why Liverpool cannot take the title for 23 years… I love Carra for his fighting spirit and bravery, but he is more like a warrior and less like a footballer… The only complete CB that we have is Agger (when he is fit) and we need to pair him with pure quality. Someone up there to the level of Company, David Luis or Vidic and Skrtel (or Carragher) is not as good as them…

    • Jack
      3 years ago

      Company!? LOL!!!

  • Marc
    3 years ago

    Angelos, you say Carragher isnt a complete defender, then you say David Luiz is????? Daniel Agger certainly isnt, he cant mark a man. Carra is the most complete defender we have and is a legend. Skrtel was the player of the season last year and was quality, an it was the first time i had rated him since we joined. Overrall i dont think our centre backs have been impressive an they need shaking up a bit.

  • Mick
    3 years ago

    Last season Liverpool had the 2nd best defence in the league for most of the season, Skrtel was player of the year, he is a top international,City wanted him. What has changed? Rodgers ! All the talk this week is about Moyes & Fergus ,Liverpool rarely get a mention , what has changed ?? Rodgers ! There is acup final today , Liverpool went out early. what has changed?? Rodgers. Liverpool now make the numbers up ,what has changed ?? Rodgers. Reds fans wake up , we are on the road to ruin with this guy. Watch another final on wednesday with our ex manager , managing a bunch of tw@ts , we didnt even qualify this year. what happened?? Rodgers.

    • fotheringham
      3 years ago

      Well said

    • Mark Henry
      3 years ago

      Spot on!, In Rafa we love.

    • Luke
      3 years ago

      Spot on Mick

    • ?
      3 years ago

      Another thick Liverpool supporter. Whatever happened to the claim that Liverpool fans knew their football.


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