Seven months and seven league goals after Martin Skrtel forced his way back into Brendan Rodgers' plans, the Liverpool boss has been moved to describe the Slovakian as 'a colossus'.

The powerful No.37 was limited to a watching brief for the Reds' opening two Barclays Premier League fixtures of this season, but was afforded a sudden opportunity at the beginning of September.

His response was robust and instantaneous; Skrtel was a crucial factor in shutting out Manchester United on home soil that day and has been an ever-present member of the backline since.

In addition, the 29-year-old has proven a menace at the other end, clocking up seven Premier League strikes - including a perfectly-placed header in last weekend's dramatic victory over Manchester City.

"Martin has been a colossus for us throughout this season," Rodgers explained to the Liverpool Echo. "His performances speak for themselves.

"I think he's been the top centre-half in the Premier League, alongside Vincent Kompany. I see a more complete defender now. I have great admiration for him."

The manager continued: "Obviously during my time here it's not always been plain sailing for Martin. At the start of the season he probably felt that he wasn't going to start.

"It was difficult for him over pre-season but he never stopped working. What he's shown is that willingness to adapt his game in order to improve. Learning to play how we want to play has made him a better player."

A glance through Skrtel's statistics for the current campaign show that the centre-back has recorded 91 per cent passing accuracy and collected just four yellow cards during almost 3,000 minutes of action.

He dominates the league's chart for clearances too, with 373 to date - 75 more than his nearest competitor. So, where does Rodgers believe the Slovakia international has improved?

The boss added: "Tactically, he has taken on board what I've spoken to him about and the intelligence in his game has grown. He's very comfortable on the ball and his reading of the game and his awareness has become better.

"He has added to his power game. Now he knows the right times to use his aggression. That aggression is still there but he has added a bit of subtlety to his defending.

"He has also shown his threat from set-pieces. His movement to score from the corner against Manchester City was excellent. He's the highest-scoring defender in the Premier League.

"My staff and I are here just as facilitators. We can coach them to become better, but for that to happen the player has to have that willingness to want to do it.

"It's a great credit to Martin. He has shown that desire to fit into the model of how we want to work. I really admire players of that personality."