6 Possible Replacements If Skrtel Leaves Liverpool

Tony Lucadamo@tonylucadamoContributor IIIJune 19, 2012

6 Possible Replacements If Skrtel Leaves Liverpool

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    The Daily Mail reports that Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel is the subject of increasing interest from Russian club Anzi Makhachkala. 

    This is not the first time the 27-year-old has been linked with a move away from Anfield in recent months. A previous Mirror article claimed rumors to the same effect earlier this summer.

    This is a growing trend that will be watched with some anxiety by the Kop faithful. The centre-back was one of the few bright spots on the roster in 2011-12. Finding a replacement of his caliber will be a tall order.

    Brendan Rodgers already has a lot of work to do in the transfer market. Adding a starting centre-back will only make his task of reviving Merseyside that much more difficult.

    The potential replacement needs to be the strong man in the back and he should have a skill set which complements the ball skills of Daniel Agger.

    Here are a few options for the Rodgers to consider should Skrtel leave.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos, FC Schalke 04

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    The Greek international is renowned for being the youngest-ever player to get a cap in the Greek Super League. He got his first game time at 15 years and 283 days.

    He is a raw talent at 20-years-old. However, he has already featured numerous times for large clubs such as Olympiacos and FC Schalke.

    Papadopoulos also gets regular minutes for his country and has featured prominently for the Group A runner-up in this summer's tournament.

Benedikt Howedes, FC Schalke 04

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    Another member of Schalke's back line is worth looking at.

    Benedikt Howedes has more height than his Greek counterpart at 6'2" and more experience at 24.

    That age and seniority comes at a premium however. Sources online have him listed at £13 million. Fenway Sports Group (FSG) may feel that is too much to invest on the defensive end of the pitch.

    If Liverpool can afford him he is well worth the investment.

Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City

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    Stoke's tactical philosophy places a lot of pressure on their back line. Short of a few lobs forward to Peter Crouch, the Potters generally play within their own half.

    The playing style asks a lot of their steady 6'3" Englishman Ryan Shawcross. Should Brendan Rodgers look for a replacement close to home, Shawcross might fit the billing for Merseyside.

    With the proper management he can be molded into world-class central-defender.

Brede Hangeland, Fulham

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    Hangeland is on the list as a budget option.

    It is unlikely that Rodgers would look to a defender over 30 with Jamie Carragher on the payroll. Yet, few defenders could provide such an immediate physical presence.

    The massive Norwegian has long been underrated. He would slot in perfectly for a few years opposite Agger while Coates develops.

Mats Hummels, Borussia Dortmund

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    Should Liverpool recoup a massive transfer fee for Skrtel then perhaps they might just be able to afford the up-and-coming German Mats Hummels.

    He is 6'3", 23-years-old and already starts for one of the best national teams in the world. He has won league championships and cups at the club level and might soon claim a European Championship as well.

    Hummels is a classic German sweeper in the mold of Franz Beckenbauer but has enough ball skills to prosper in Brendan Rodgers' 4-3-3.

    Sources have him listed at £17.5 million. That's probably generous.

    Should Dortmund even want to sell him, FSG will have to be prepared to go north of £20 million for a defender of this caliber.

    Yet, the biggest question is one of interest. This is the most speculative name on the list. Convincing him to leave Champions League football at Dortmund for a relative risk at Anfield will take some convincing.

Simon Kjaer, Roma/Wolfsburg

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    Kjaer's stock has dropped significantly after a generally poor year for Roma.

    The Danish defender just completed a season-long loan from Wolfsburg. This, after a summer in which he was connected to a number of large English clubs.

    Roma's defense turned in some poor results. Some of the blame was placed on Kjaer. This includes a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Cagliari in which he was judged to be at fault.

    However, one poor campaign simply means that Liverpool could get him at a discount.

    At 23, he still has not entered the prime of his career. Further, as evidenced by this summer's tournament, he partners well with Agger. The international teammates would have a rapport from day one.