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Brendan Rodgers has praised Martin Skrtel's attitude after what he acknowledged must have been a difficult period for the defender.
The Slovakian international has started just three games in all competitions since Jamie Carragher made his return to the starting line-up against Norwich in January.
However, the manager told the Liverpool Echo that Skrtel remains firmly in his plans for the future.
"It has been difficult for him and I've acknowledged and recognised that," said Rodgers.
"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 Carragher has arguably been one of the best defenders in the league and Daniel Agger has been fresh and played very well.
"It has been unfortunate for Martin but he has been a loyal member of the squad and is still very much part of my plans here.
"He's happy here, he's not in any rush to leave but players want to play. I haven't had any concerns with Martin at all, his attitude has been first class.
"It is important they know where they stand and he knows where they stand.
"He is very much a part of what we are trying to do here.
"We are trying to build up a group with a winning mentality and he's got a winning mentality. It's just unfortunate he lost his place."
Carragher will retire from football after the two final games of this season against Fulham and Queens Park Rangers.
The 35-year-old's experience and leadership qualities have shone through in recent months, as the Reds have lost just once in the league with him in the side.
Rodgers explained how such attributes were key to Carragher's return to the team.
"It wasn't so much through his [Skrtel's] form, it was just I felt we needed more of an organiser and a leader," explained the Northern Irishman.
"You can become a leader but I also think it is something a lot of people are born with.
"Skrtel is certainly a player we want to keep and we have no ideas of selling him. He is an important member of our group."
Author: @philreade Tagged:
, martin skrtel
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