Skrtel injury leaves Liverpool under pressure against Sunderland

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If Liverpool continue to ship goals at their current rate it will be virtually impossible for them to break into the top four this season and the news that Martin Skrtel will miss the start of the campaign will not help their cause.

Liverpool have let in three goals in each of their five pre-season friendlies and finding a way of tightening the defence is something that must be worked on by Kenny Dalglish in training.

Skrtel played every minute of every Premier League game for Liverpool last season, but an ongoing calf injury has caused him to miss all the pre-season action.

And the latest reports suggest that the problem will also keep him out of Liverpool’s pre-season opener at home to Sunderland.

This means that Liverpool are likely to start with Jamie Carragher and a returning to fitness Daniel Agger as the central defensive pairing for the visit of Sunderland.

However, there is still a chance that Liverpool may go and buy another centre back before the big Premier League kick-off, as the club appear to still be lacking a dominant player in the position with some pace and aggression.

With Liverpool looking frail at the back and Carragher and Agger missing the chance to develop an understanding by playing just once together in pre-season, Sunderland may be the value bet in the opening round of Premier League fixtures.

Sunderland’s odds are 8/1 to win at Anfield and Liverpool certainly head into the fixture under a lot of pressure.

Not only does is seem that Dalglish is unsure on his best team, but the fact the club have been the big spenders of 2011 means that the supporters will be expecting a strong start, especially at home.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.