Friday 26 May 2017

Skrtel happy to kick pal Sturridge to help Slovakia

Martin Skrtel of Slovakia addressing a press conference of Slovakia's national football team. Photo: AFP PHOTO / UEFA
Martin Skrtel of Slovakia addressing a press conference of Slovakia's national football team. Photo: AFP PHOTO / UEFA

Tim Rich

Martin Skrtel knows some of the players in this England squad better than Roy Hodgson. He has been training with Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Nathaniel Clyne and Daniel Sturridge for most of last season. The year before, the Liverpool centre-half was training with Raheem Sterling.

Asked if he would kick Sturridge tonight if it meant Slovakia going through to the knockout stages, Skrtel smiled and said yes.

"Obviously, I would. We will be friends before and after the game but not during it and, if you asked the same question to Daniel, he would say the same."

Skrtel's finest season at Anfield, in which he played in every minute of every Premier League game was also one of Liverpool's worst.

It was the one in which Hodgson, appointed to succeed Rafa Benitez, lasted a little over four months.

The Slovakian is unlikely to be at Anfield next season. He never quite recovered from a mauling Liverpool received at Watford in December, which counted as one of their very worst displays under Jurgen Klopp.

Skrtel did not play another game for Klopp for three months and, when he did, it was in a disastrous match at Southampton when Liverpool somehow contrived to toss away a two-goal lead in a 3-2 defeat.

He has been linked with a move to Roma, but for the moment, though, his focus is solely on producing a good performance tonight.

"This will be a very special game because I have been playing in England for the last eight years," he said.

(© Independent News Service)

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