BRENDAN RODGERS has vowed to fight to keep Martin Skrtel at Anfield as the Liverpool boss prepares to welcome a host of senior players to the club’s training camp in Boston today.
The Slovakian defender, who is under contract until 2014, has yet to agree terms with the Reds on a new deal and has been linked with a move away from Anfield in search of Champions League football this summer.
However, Rodgers says talks are ongoing and he’s determined to keep hold of last season’s player of the year, who played the second half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Toronto FC in Canada.
“Martin has been fantastic,” said Rodgers. “He seems happy and contented and he’s working well. I’ve heard nothing from any other club about Martin. He fits into my plans and ideas. I will fight as hard as I possibly can to keep the players that I want here and he is one of them.”
Rodgers also brushed aside speculation that Juventus are preparing a bid for Luis Suarez by reaffirming his belief that the Uruguayan striker is fully committed to the Reds.
“I’m confident he is really looking forward to playing for us this season and is really looking forward to this way of football,” Rodgers said.
“I have spoken to him and had nothing but positivity from him. He is obviously at the Olympics and I wish him well, but I will wish him even better when he comes back.
“Unfortunately there is always that rumour, speculation and gossip and until the window closes that will continue.”
Rodgers’ squad will be boosted today by the arrival of England internationals Steven Gerrard, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly, along with new £11million striker Fabio Borini.
They are set to land in Boston this evening and will start pre-season training with the Reds at Harvard University tomorrow.
However, Rodgers has vowed not to rush the Euro 2012 contingent back into action after their summer break and they are unlikely to feature against Roma at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.
Their participation in the Europa League third qualifying tie against either Macedonia’s FK Renova from Macedonia or FC Gomel of Belarus, which begins with the first leg away in 10 days’ time, is also in doubt.
The manager has made it clear that his priority is ensuring the Reds are fully prepared for their Premier League opener at West Brom on August 18.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting every player back,” Rodgers added. “It’s great to see the young lads here but it’s also important to get the whole group together and get some new signings here.
“I need to look at where the lads are at when they arrive on Monday. We have a good 10 days before the Europa League game but they’re obviously coming back after a break.
“Of course we want to do well in the Europa League but ultimately it’s about getting ready for August 18. That’s the story this year.
“The players fly in late on Monday so their first session will be Tuesday. It is a long season and I need to make sure I protect the players.
“Touch wood, the conditioning is going well at the moment and I want to keep it that way. If we can add some quality to the group then we’ll be ready to go.”
Having only been back in training for four days, Daniel Agger took no part in Saturday’s friendly with Toronto but should feature against Roma.
“It was just too early for him,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t want to put him in that situation because others had been back for a couple of weeks.”
Liverpool flew straight back to Boston after Saturday night’s game in Toronto and will train at Harvard today.