Following Liverpool’s unimpressive win against Premier League giants QPR, the Anfield men face the mammoth fixture that is Real Madrid at home in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Amongst the potentially mouth-watering on-field battles the fans have to look forward to, Martin Skrtel vs. Cristiano Ronaldo strikes me as the most tantalising.
With a pants-shitting 15 goals from 7 league games for Los Blancos already, it seems the photogenic Portuguese is on form. In comparison, Skrtel has been The Reds’ most consistently picked defender this campaign to date.
They are, respectively, their teams’ most terrifying goal-threat and least-disappointing defender.
That makes them a monster match-up in my book. Let’s take a look at how they compare…
|Name||Martin Skrtel||Cristiano Ronaldo|
|Nickname||Teenage Mutant Ninja Skrtel||CR7|
|Position(s)||Central defender, shirt-puller, own-goal aficionado||Left forward, glory hog, underwear model, diver|
|Propensity for vowel usage||Low. Has no time for vowels. Begrudgingly put one in his surname for the benefit of Western commentators.||High. Took Ronald and made it Ronaldo.|
|Hair||‘Hair is for girly-boys.’||Styling more immaculate than his touch.|
|Best attributes||Tenacity, aerial threat, work-rate, frightening small children.||All the attributes. All of them.|
|Partner||Barbora Lovasova: 8/10||Irina Shayk: 9/10|
|Highest accolade||Slovak Footballer of the Year||Ballon d’Or|
|World records||Baldest centre back in the world, 5 years running.Footballer with the lowest consonant to vowel ratio.Most shirts pulled in a single football match.||The most expensive footballer in history: 2009–2013.Most international goals in a year.First footballer to reach 40 goals in a professional league for two consecutive season.|
|Modelling career||Once put a hoody on for the LFC online store.||Modelling contracts with a value higher than that of the GDP of a small African country.|
- Ronaldo has in his favour a better tan, better hair, a hotter partner and more money.
- Skrtel has in his favour a funnier nickname, better head-shape aerodynamics and the fact that he isn’t a complete ponce.
But that probably won’t help his cause tomorrow night. If you want to get serious, Skrtel and the entire Liverpool defence will be scratching their heads regarding how to keep Ronaldo and co. quiet.
In fairness, any defence in world football would be anxious about facing the likes of James Rodriguez, Isco, Benzema and the world-beating Ronaldo himself.
But to paraphrase Reds legend Jamie Carragher, Liverpool’s back line has been extra shit so far. That’s not to say that they have the worst record – they’ve simply lacked cohesion and looked all-at-sea, especially at set pieces.
One small mercy for Liverpool is that Gareth Bale is a doubt for the encounter. Also in their favour is that Real Madrid at home is a fixture that promises to rouse the Anfield faithful to that indescribable, magical level that has seen The Reds beating similarly unfavourable odds in the past.
Will that be enough though? Only time will tell. If Skrtel can find it within himself to put in the kind of performance Carragher himself did in the second half against Milan in that legendary Istanbul final, then perhaps it will.
I can’t help but feel though that trying to thwart Madrid’s attacking threat is futile. Defending alone won’t do it. Or rather, scoring goals is the only way that Liverpool can hope to subdue CR7 and the gang.
Liverpool need to come out firing. They need to give Madrid something to worry about; to peg them back. And for God’s sake, between, Balotelli (Baloshitty), Borini and Lambert, they need to find a striker who can finish.
Only then does Skrtel have a chance of coming out on top.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid is live on SuperSport 3 from 8 pm – 11 30 pm, tomorrow, Wed 22 October.