Why Skrtel and not Agger will be the one to lose out as Sakho prepares for first-team battle

Mamadou Sakho

The Frenchman seeks to dislodge the Liverpool centre-back pairing and it is Martin Skrtel who should be the most concerned.

The news that Mamadou Sakho is now feeling good after making the bench for the Manchester United game last week following a long-term injury could be ominous for one of Liverpool centre-halves Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel.

While Agger and Skrtel and even Kolo Toure (despite the comical own goals) have helped Liverpool win eight and draw two of their last ten matches in Sakho's absence, they will know they face a tough task in keeping the former PSG captain out of the side.

Skrtel in particular needs to be on his guard as in Agger Liverpool have both their vice-captain and best option to play the ball from out of the back.

Admittedly Skrtel has improved of late, showing greater concentration and composure that partly ensured the Reds were able to keep two successive clean sheets on the road away to Southampton and Manchester United.

Neverthless it would not be Skrtel if there were no errors or lapses of concentration again for they have continually littered his time at the Anfield club.

Has he really turned a corner at the age of 29? Yes it seems hard to believe and so question marks will remain against the Slovakian's mental toughness and in truth, lack of aggression.

And on both those scores Sakho comes up trumps.

The 24-year-old has already shown in his short time with Liverpool that he excels both in the air and in ground duels, two facets of his game that are indicative of a defender who refuses to come out second best. How many times can we say that about Skrtel and even Agger?

The Dane was removed from the 4-3 defeat of Swansea in February, midway through the second-half, replaced with Toure by Brendan Rodgers who later admitted that Agger was unable to get to grips with Wilfried Bony.

Yet if a choice is to be made as to who to drop from Srktel and Agger for Sakho, then it should be the former. Agger is not prone to inducing panic in the Liverpool defence quite like the former Zenit Saint Petersburg man. In respect of Rogers' insistence on possession based football Agger is therefore the player of more value. He won't cough up the ball when under pressure as easily as his team-mate and just as importantly, he can start off attacks and in doing so, help Steven Gerrard with that particular function of the side.

Whether Rodgers decides to replace Skrtel with Sakho, Agger with Sakho, or leave Sakho out altogether in order not to disrupt his centre-back pairing and keep a stable defence, only time will tell of course.

The Liverpool manager at least has a nice selection headache ahead of him, that much can be said. The defensive options available make a mockery of those who do not believe the Reds have enough strength in depth, in such a key area, to mount a serious title challenge.

Do you think Sakho will come back into the Liverpool first-team picture at the expense of Skrtel?

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