Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted he is not planning to sell out-of-favour defender Martin Skrtel in the upcoming summer transfer window, Sky Sports reports.
Skrtel, 28, has lost his place in the Reds’ first-team to 35-year-old Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.
Since January, the Slovakia international has started just three league matches, out of a possible 15 fixtures, for Liverpool.
Skrtel has been quite error-prone this term, but remains a part of Brendan Rodgers’ long-term plans at Anfield.
“It has been difficult for him and I’ve acknowledged and recognised that,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.
“The great professional he is means his focus has been outstanding and he’s trained very, very hard every day and has been there when he’s been required.
“We made the change a few months back and I think Jamie Carragher has arguably been one of the best defenders in the league and Daniel Agger has been fresh and played very well.”
With Jamie Carragher set to retire at the end of the season, Liverpool can ill afford to lose Skrtel in the summer.
Rodgers is reportedly interested in bringing Swansea City centre-back Ashley Williams to Merseyside, but the club may not sanction a £10 million move for the Wales international as a result of financial fear due to the ‘unsuccessful’ signings of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing in January 2011.
Carroll and Downing cost Liverpool around £55 million. That’s more than Real Madrid paid Juventus for Zinedine Zidane in 2001, and approximately the same amount Los Blancos paid AC Milan for 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Kaka in 2009.
In sum, the Reds’ best transfer option would be to hold on to Skrtel unless they receive a spectacular bid for the 28-year-old, but that seems rather unlikely due to the player’s recent form.
Fellaini happy at Everton
Everton ace Marouane Fellaini has revealed he is happy at Everton, but admits he wants to be playing UEFA Champions League football, Sky Sports understands.
The Belgium international and team-mate Leighton Baines have been linked with summer moves to Old Trafford after Toffees boss David Moyes was named the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United earlier this week.
Fellaini, 25, has bagged a career-best 11 goals and five assists in 29 English Premier League appearances for Everton this season.
“Every player wants to play in the Champions League. That is the big competition,” Fellaini told the Daily Mirror.
“I hope I can do it with Everton. I’m happy here. I’ve been at the club for five years. I’m happy because I know everybody.
“For my future, I want to play in England. The Premier League is the best league. Here there are five, six, seven, eight teams, all of whom think they are good enough to play in the Champions League and want that.
“There isn’t another country in Europe where you get that.”
The 25-year-old also added that he believes he operates best as a defensive midfielder, a position that needs to be addressed at United.