Skrtel agrees contract extension


Soccer:Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has committed his future to the club by signing a a new long-term contract with the Anfield club.

The Slovakian international was named player of the season after the last campaign and insisted it was always his aim to stay on Merseyside, despite apparent interest from elsewhere.

"I'm happy because I am a part of one of the biggest clubs in the world," said Skrtel after penning the deal at the club’s Melwood training ground today. "After last season there was a lot of talk about my future but I have to say that the first priority for me was always to sign a new deal with Liverpool.

"For me it's a great thing to play for Liverpool. I am proud to play for Liverpool with these great players - probably some of the best players in the world. I hope I can create history at this club and that the fans will always remember me - that's my target for the future."

The 27-year-old joined the Reds from Zenit St Petersburg in 2008 and has made 175 appearances for the club since.

"I have been here almost four-and-a-half years and I have enjoyed that time here - myself and also my family," said Skrtel. "So, there were no questions about whether to stay or to leave.”

The news will come as a relief to Liverpool fans, who have this summer endured reports about interest in Skrtel from Manchester City and elsewhere.

They will also be keen the club shows the same desire to secure the future of his fellow centre back Daniel Agger, who has been courted by City in the off season, but has insisted he wished to remain at Anfield.

Agger is considering appealing the red card he received in the opening-day Premier League 3-0 defeat to West Brom, in which Skrtel also gave away a penalty.

The Dane was shown a straight red card by referee Phil Dowd for giving away a penalty after he was adjudged to have pushed Shane Long inside the box. As it stands, he is set to miss next weekend's clash with Manchester City, but the defender claims television evidence will prove the decision was incorrect.

Asked whether he would contest the red card Agger said: "Of course. I've seen it again on television and there is no contact. Referees are only human. They make mistakes as well. I was unlucky to be involved in one of the mistakes. It's frustrating but that's part of the game."

Despite suffering their heaviest opening-day defeat for 75 years at The Hawthorns, Agger is confident Liverpool will bounce back and that there is no need to panic.

"I know we will bounce back from this," added Agger. "I think we controlled the game before the sending-off," said Agger. "We had the momentum, we kept the ball well and we created chances. The red card changed the game. Everyone is frustrated. I don't think the result was right. It doesn't really make sense. But that's football and it happens.

"We have to continue. We showed a bit of the football we want to play. The manager said the same - that we controlled the game, created some chances and were a bit unlucky with some decisions. At Liverpool, the spotlight is always there. There is no reason to panic. I think the Premier League is getting better and better. There will always be tough games ahead."

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