Troy Deeney has been recounting the day when he got the better of a former Liverpool defender in the physical exchanges during a Premier League clash from 2015.
Eight seasons ago, when the current Forest Green Rovers player/coach was with Watford, his side won 3-0 at Vicarage Road against a Reds team containing Martin Skrtel.
The 34-year-old was looking back at that lamentable day for Jurgen Klopp’s side on the Defoe & Deeney Football Firsts Podcast when he pinpointed the moment that he felt he got the better of the Slovakian.
The striker recalled: “We played Liverpool at home, we ended up beating them 3-0 and I’ve said to the boys, ‘Put it high’.
“We win kick-off, put it high, and I’ve jumped and I’ve just timed it well, won the header and I’ve elbowed him and he’s like, ‘Bro, come on!’ and I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got you’. Within about 35 minutes I think he came off. I just beat him up physically.”
To be fair to Skrtel, the entire Liverpool team were miles off it on that chilly December afternoon at Vicarage Road in the early weeks of Klopp’s time in charge (remember Adam Bogdan’s fumble?), but he enjoyed a measure of revenge as the Reds defeated Watford in the return fixture later that season.
The Slovakian defender left England the following summer, so he’d never come up against Deeney thereafter.
However testing that day in Hertfordshire must’ve been, though, the 38-year-old was for the most part an uncompromising figure at the back during his eight-and-a-half years on Merseyside.
Upon signing him for Liverpool in 2008, Rafael Benitez praised Skrtel as a defender who was ‘aggressive’ and ‘good in the air’ (LFC official website), with those traits often coming to the fore throughout the centre-back’s time at Anfield.
He was a tremendous and reliable servant to the club during his 320 appearances in red (Transfermarkt), and he’s a player who continues to be held in very high esteem among Reds fans to this day.