Martin Skrtel
Liverpool's Skrtel challenges Bolton Wanderers' Ngog during their English Premier League match in Bolton.

Jose Enrique has praised the contribution of Martin Skrtel and believes the Liverpool centre-back is the best defender in the Premier League.

Skrtel has been one of Liverpool's most consistent players, helping the club to 11 clean sheets in a mediocre campaign.

Liverpool have conceded five goals in their last two Premier League matches but Enrique remains adamant that his defensive team-mate ranks above Manchester City's Vincent Kompany in a list of the league's top defenders.

"You cannot say that any striker has made a game difficult for him this season," Enrique told the official Liverpool Web site. "Against many different strikers this season he has had an amazing game.

"He is doing really, really well for us. He has everything. He's good in the air, he's a strong player, he's quick, he's good with the ball.

"For me, I wouldn't swap him for any centre-back in the Premier League. I know [Vincent] Kompany is a good centre-back too but I prefer Martin."

Enrique admits that Liverpool's poor form since the turn of the year irreparably damaged their hopes of Champions League qualification. Last Saturday's 2-1 defeat at home to Wigan was the Reds' fifth defeat in their last six games.

Kenny Dalglish's side have taken just eight points from a possible 33 in 2012 and are now a distant 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with just eight games remaining.

"The manager takes pressure for us and of course that is good," Enrique told the Liverpool Echo.

"But the truth is, when we make mistakes or have a bad game, we know where the mistakes come from. Who plays the game? The players. Who has to win them? The players too.

"The players are frustrated just the same (as the fans). We have played good football in many games but against Wigan we didn't deserve to win."