Skrtel: Exit never an option

Martin Skrtel claims to have given no thought to leaving Liverpool over the summer and is taking aim at the top four.

Last Updated: 03/09/13 at 16:37 Post Comment

Martin Skrtel: Was linked with Napoli, but is happy to still be at Anfield

Martin Skrtel: Was linked with Napoli, but is happy to still be at Anfield

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Regular rounds of speculation suggested that Skrtel could have been on his way out of Anfield prior to Monday's deadline - with former Reds boss Rafa Benitez reported to be keen on a reunion with the no-nonsense centre-half at Napoli.

Skrtel has, however, revealed that no move was ever discussed as it was made clear to him that no sale would be sanctioned.

The Slovakia international is delighted to still be on Merseyside, after five-and-a-half years in England, and says an impressive performance in a 1-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday was not a result of him trying to justify his continued presence in Brendan Rodgers' plans.

Skrtel told SITA: "I'm staying at Liverpool. The rumours were never as strong as it was made out.

"There has been no contact with other clubs because the Liverpool management told me that they were counting on me. That is why a transfer was never in my plans.

"I have never considered it (the United game) to be a chance to show that I deserve to stay at Liverpool. It was a big derby but, on the other hand, it was also just another league game."

Skrtel has seen his position come under threat from new recruits Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori, but the 28-year-old says he welcomes added competition for places.

He added: "Players come, players leave, it's a normal thing and we will see how it develops."

Liverpool have opened the new season with three successive 1-0 wins and Skrtel believes they should be setting their sights on a top-four finish, regardless of the improvements made elsewhere.

He said: "You may say that the number of clubs competing is increasing from one year to the next. Again we have seen clubs spending big sums of money - (Manchester) City, Tottenham, Chelsea and even Arsenal.

"Competition is big but when I look at how we have played, I would say that we belong in the top four."

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lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

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