Dalglish hails versatile Skrtel
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has no concerns about continuing to play Martin Skrtel out of position as he believes increased competition within the squad has forced all his players to raise their game.
The Slovakia central defender has played the majority of the last two matches against Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City at right-back after injuries to Martin Kelly and Glen Johnson.
Should he continue in that role at Tottenham on Sunday he is likely to come up against his greatest challenge so far in the form of flying winger Gareth Bale.
But Dalglish has no worries about his centre-back, who has found opportunities in his preferred position limited by the form of Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger while new Uruguayan signing Sebastian Coates has brought added competition in that area.
"He is playing out of position but it is not a problem for him," said the Reds boss. "He came on against Bolton and was very comfortable. He has thrown himself into the right-back position and done brilliantly and he doesn't look out of place to me. If we have to keep him there then we have to keep him there.
"There is no way Martin Skrtel is going to let you down for lack of commitment." Dalglish added. "One of the benefits of this group of players is that they are prepared to play wherever they can get a game. They will do their very best and if it is not right it is not their problem it is our problem.
"It is a great credit to them. Martin has been given the opportunity and he has done the best he can to continue to do it and if someone else gets the opportunity they will be exactly the same."
Kelly is close to making a return to fitness after a hamstring injury against Bolton at the end of last month and could conceivably depose Skrtel on the right of defence.
Teenager John Flanagan is the other option but has not featured in the first team since suffering a visible drop in confidence in the second half of their opening-day fixture against Sunderland.
He insists he is ready to come back in if required, however. "Hopefully I can get back in the team - that's my target," said the 18-year-old. "We've got a few injuries at the moment so maybe I'll get another chance soon. When I do get back in there I'll have to show what I can do.
"Kells is back in training so it all depends what Kenny wants to do but if he needs me at Tottenham I'll be ready. All I can do is keep working hard in training and keep listening to the coaches. Kenny has massively helped me and shown a lot of trust in me. I need to keep repaying that faith. I've already played nine games for the club I support and I want to play more. I just need to ensure I keep progressing."
Dalglish has previously stressed the importance of a strong squad and that was highlighted in the defeat at Stoke last weekend.
The Scot was able to bring on Andy Carroll, Craig Bellamy and Johnson, whereas in the same fixture ten months previously predecessor Roy Hodgson introduced Ryan Babel and David Ngog with the likes of now-departed duo Christian Poulsen and Milan Jovanovic among the other substitutes.
Dalglish has not made wholesale changes to his line-up so far this season but has admitted there has to be some rotation. And he had a little dig at the critics who do not agree with making regular changes.
"It is important that people understand there are not many times a player gets dropped now," he said. "There are going to be changes made in every club's team. You just have a look and judge on what you see, what has been done and take into account the opposition but, most importantly, take into account your own players.
"The strength of the squad is the most important thing and we have a very strong squad so it is logical to think there will be different faces every week. But it is not just for the sake of it but for the benefit of the club. The players come to grips with it easier than other people who depend on football for a living come to terms with it."