Monday 19 February 2018

Skrtel's days numbered after attack on Rodgers

Chris Bascombe

Martin Skrtel has paved the way for a summer exit from Liverpool after suggesting he has been misled on the reason for his removal from the starting line-up.

Brendan Rodgers lost patience with the Slovakia international following a series of below-par performances, the defender's struggles against robust strikers most embarrassingly exposed by Oldham's Matt Smith recently.

Skrtel says his manager told him why he was leaving him out, but he claims he does not know whether to accept the justification for the decision.

"He gave me some explanation, but it's hard to tell if it was the true reason he gave me," said Skrtel. "I don't think it was and think there is something else behind it."

However, the defender's comments to a Slovakian newspaper make it clear he will not accept being a substitute.

Although Skrtel (pictured) says he is not thinking of leaving "for the present", the 28-year-old points out that he would have to do so if he was not "kept in the team".

Russian clubs Zenit St Petersburg and Anzhi Makhachkala are among those monitoring Skrtel's situation, and with Carragher retiring and Sebastian Coates also out of favour, Liverpool hope to sign at least two centre-backs this summer.

"It would be useless to think about a transfer during the season even if it is true that you can move to Russia till the end of February," said Skrtel.

"For three years at Liverpool I was playing in almost every match. I have had various thoughts but certainly I'm not going to make any hot-blooded decision.

"I want to be fit as soon as possible and fight for the place in the starting line-up. If the coach should lose interest in keeping me in his team, then we would have to handle it with my agent.

"For the present I am at Liverpool where I have a long-term contract and I am not thinking about leaving.

"The coach has his ideas about the line-up and the question is if I would be in it if I was fit. I would say it's likelier I wouldn't.

"I was training with the team, giving 100pc and doing all I could to prove to the coach that I belonged in the starting XI. I was waiting for a chance, one then came in St Petersburg, but then I was not playing again.

"However, now I'm injured and we'll see what happens when I'm back fit. It's hard to tell, but I would say it wouldn't (change)."

"It all happened after our match with Manchester United in the middle of January.

"We lost 2-1 but I think that particularly in the second half we played very well. Moreover, a lot of sources gave me a good rating. But he (Rodgers) told me we had lost the organisation of play in the defensive line and that this would be the reason why I would not play in the following matches.

"I'm not the type of player who would be chasing the coach and be in his office all the time, asking for explanations why I'm not playing. If the coach wants to tell me something, he will summon me. I would not like to make any unnecessary conflicts." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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