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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Feb 26, 2013

Skrtel questions reason behind bench role

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel admits he does not know the real reason for his recent omission from the starting line-up, raising doubts over his future at Anfield.

Martin Skrtel fires Liverpool into the lead
Martin Skrtel is not enjoying life at Anfield at the moment

Skrtel, 28, has lost his place in the Liverpool side of late, with manager Brendan Rodgers preferring to partner Jamie Carragher with Daniel Agger at the back.

The Slovakia international says Rogers told him why he was leaving him out, although he claims he is not sure if he believes his boss.

“He gave me some explanation, but it’s hard to tell if it was the true reason he gave me,” Skrtel told the Daily Telegraph. “I don’t think it was and think there is something else behind it.”

Skrtel added: “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 don’t know which fixtures he spoke about because we had kept a clean sheet twice in a row and won both matches. Also, we did not disappoint in the game against United.

"Anyway, 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.” 

Rodgers has said recently that a lack of leadership, mental strength and his preference for a more vocal presence in his back four has led to Carragher making a return to the first team.

Skrtel, though, insists he does not want to sit on the Anfield bench, and while he is not prepared to make a move away from the club this season, he will not rule it out in the future.

“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,” Skrtel told the Denik Sport newspaper. “I have come across such views that it would not be correct to consider leaving a club where you have been on the bench in four or five fixtures. On the other hand, it is hard to put up with it. 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 it is valid that 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. When I was healthy, I was training with the team, giving 100% 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 [Zenit] 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].” 

Russian clubs Zenit St Petersburg and Anzhi Makhachkala are both believed to be monitoring the situation of Skrtel, who signed a new Anfield deal last year until 2016.

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