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 By Mike Whalley

Liverpool to block Skrtel return to Zenit

Liverpool will resist any attempt by Zenit St Petersburg to re-sign central defender Martin Skrtel.

Martin Skrtel hopes to return to training in the coming days.
Skrtel signed for Liverpool from Zenit in 2008.

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The Russian Premier League leaders have been linked repeatedly with a move for the 28-year-old since the beginning of the year.

And fresh reports suggest that Zenit will make a £16 million bid in January for Skrtel, who they sold to Liverpool for £6.5 million in 2008.

But manager Brendan Rodgers declared at the start of the season that the defender was not for sale, and sources have told ESPN that this remains the case.

Skrtel’s long-term future at Anfield was cast into doubt when he lost his place to Jamie Carragher in January.

He admitted in May that he was ready to consider leaving Anfield after becoming disillusioned over his lack of game time.

Napoli wanted to buy Skrtel during the summer, but he insisted at the beginning of September that he was never close to moving away from Merseyside, despite his frustrations during the second half of last season.

Skrtel missed the start of this campaign with a knee problem, but returned to the starting line-up for the 1-0 win over Manchester United on September 1, and has been an ever-present since.

Rodgers has Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and the inexperienced pair of Tiago Ilori and Andre Wisdom battling it out with Skrtel for central defensive places.

But the manager, who has switched from a flat back four to a three-man central defence for Liverpool’s last two matches, has lost Sebastian Coates to a long-term knee injury and does not want to his options at the back to be cut further.


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