Martin Skrtel will take his long-time defensive partner Daniel Agger to one side in training today and tell him his recent appointment as Liverpool vice-captain is well deserved.

The Slovakian hasn't had the chance to congratulate Agger in person since the news broke about Brendan Rodgers' choice last Friday.

Skrtel insists the decision to make the Dane Steven Gerrard's right-hand man was very much the right one.

He told Liverpoolfc.com: "I haven't had the chance to congratulate him yet, but I will do it.

"I think Daniel deserves the vice-captaincy because he has been at the club for a while and he's an experienced player.

"He's a leader, so I think he is worthy of it. I think he will do a good job."

There could be easier games for Skrtel, Agger and co to kick off the new campaign with than a home clash against Stoke at Anfield on Saturday.

Mark Hughes took up the reins at the Britannia in May this year - and he's been tasked with implementing a different blueprint for Stoke's style.

Regardless of all this, however, Skrtel knows that any season opener, where energy levels and optimism are sky-high, is a difficult task to navigate.

"It doesn't matter who we play against because the beginning of the season is always tough," he said. "Every team is full of energy and desire and they want to fight.

"We know that with Stoke it's going to be a hard and difficult game for us. But we need a good start to the season and we will do all our best to make sure that happens and we get the three points.

"We haven't spoken about the opposition yet. But we'll see them on the video and then we can talk about the style that they play."

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Since Skrtel arrived at Liverpool in January 2008, he has trained, played alongside and learned from Jamie Carragher.

Along with Agger, the pair formed the backbone of the Reds' side for many years - and Skrtel admits that life after Carra could take some get used to.

"We'll see how that works out," he laughed.  "It's not easy to replace Jamie because he has been in the business for a while and he's been one of the best defenders in the country.

"So it's not going to be easy. But we have signed a new player in Kolo and we'll try to replace Jamie as best we can."