EXCLUSIVE – Martin Skrtel talks to Football FanCast
There is a feel good factor around Anfield this week after two excellent results and Kenny Dalglish is right to suggest that Liverpool FC are making good progress on the pitch. One of the players more than playing their part in recent weeks is Martin Skrtel, who took the time out to answer various questions about life at Anfield.
FFC: Martin, what is the realistic target for Liverpool F.C. this season?
MS: I think that the target is to finish in the top four, and of course we want to be as high as we can, but we will see how things can go after the Christmas [period] – but I think if we finish in the top four that’s gonna be great for us.
FFC: The club made a lot of new signings over the summer. In which areas do you feel the side has progressed most from last season?
MS: The whole team because the last season, especially the beginning of the season, wasn’t the best for us and then after Kenny [Dalglish] came in together with Steve [Clarke] a lot of things changed. New players come in and I think we start playing better as a team. Also after the new signings in the summer we are getting stronger as a team and I think we can see that on the pitch.
FFC: You mentioned Kenny there and obviously Kenny Dalglish is a living legend at the club. How inspirational is he to have as a manager?
MS: Yeah, it’s a big thing for us you know? Because I think everybody knows him and what he’s done for Liverpool, and also what he is doing now for Liverpool so I think Kenny is an inspiration for every single part – trying to progress the unit for him, for the fans and for the club.
FFC: With yourself, Carragher, Agger, Coates and young Martin Kelly at the club, there is plenty of competition at centre-back. Do you feel that Liverpool could comfortably switch to a 3-at-the-back system in the future?
MS: I think that is not a question for me but for the manager. But I think it’s only a good thing if he gets, for every single position, more players because then you have to work hard on the training [ground] and in the game as well because only 11-players can play and start the game. So I think that’s good for ourselves [the centre-backs] and for the team as well.
FFC: You wear number 37 at Liverpool FC. Did you choose that number and if so, were there any particular reasons for doing so?
MS: Yes [smiles]. You know before in Russia [with Zenit] I play with the number-3, and also in the national team I play with the number-3. But when I came to Liverpool Steven Finnan was wearing number-3 so then I made the choice to take 37 because number-3 is my lucky number and number-7 is a lucky number for my girlfriend, so together it’s 37 and I’m quite happy with that number!
FFC: Since joining Liverpool FC, in which areas do you feel you have improved most as a player?
MS: I think tactically and also physically because after I came here I had to learn a lot of things…how to play, how to do a lot of things on the pitch, because under Rafa we were working….everyday on the tactics based [approach] so it was helping me a lot. All of the football is much, much stronger and quicker here than Slovakia and also in Russia and so in this way I have had to learn a lot as well.
FFC: You turn 27-years old next month. Do you really feel that you’re coming into your prime?
MS: I hope I will be – just [get] better and better now because you know all of the people talking for the defenders [say] if they are getting older, they are getting more experienced and they are better on the pitch, so I think that it’s going to be my way as well.
FFC: You recently made your 100th appearance in the Premier League with Liverpool and kept a clean sheet…what have been the highlights of your career in England so far?
MS: In England? Difficult to say just one moment because during the four years I’ve been here we’ve played a lot of good, memorable games. I always remember the first game I played for Liverpool and also the first game I scored for Liverpool and I hope in future we’ll get some trophies and the highlights of my career will come in the future.
FFC: Who is the best striker you have ever come up against?
MS: Hmm…there’s a lot of them in England because the Premier League, for me, is the best league in the world with the best players in the world so…I can say Drogba, Rooney or Adebayor, but that’s only three of them! But in every single team you can pick one great player and a big star there.
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