Liverpool FC News: MARTIN SKRTEL today set his sights on helping Liverpool embark on a successful new era after committing his future to the club.
After several months of discussions, the Slovakian international has put pen-to-paper on a new, improved deal that will keep him at Anfield until the summer of 2014.
Coming so soon after the arrival of Joe Cole, as well as Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres reaffirming their commitment to the club, it is another boost for boss Roy Hodgson.
Since arriving from Zenit St Petersburg in January 2008 for what was then a club record fee of £7m for a defender, Skrtel’s reputation has blossomed and he was outstanding in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
But while there is no disputing his qualities, Skrtel has yet to experience the high of lifting a trophy in a Red shirt and that is something he intends to put right during the next four seasons.
“I am so happy,” said Skrtel. “I have been here for almost three years now; I’m very happy in the city and the same applies to the club.
“I’ve enjoyed everything so far so it’s great that I can be here for another four years. We started talking about a new contract maybe three or four months ago.
“From that point, I was only thinking about when I could actually sign it, so it was really pleasing that I could sign it. Now we can look to the future.”
The immediate future sees Liverpool tackle Trabzonspur in the first leg of their Europa League pay-off tie at Anfield tonight and Skrtel is confident Hodgson’s men can make home advantage count. And he will go into the game on a high, after admitting he felt it was huge honour that Liverpool were so eager to secure his services.
“A lot has changed in the club in the past couple of months – a new manager, new medical staff, new physios – but now we just have to look forward,” he said.
“Everyone will be trying to do their job as best they can and we are trying to bring the club the success it deserves. Personally I will do everything I can to help.
“Every player dreams of playing for a club like Liverpool and I am proud to be part of this team. I want it to continue for a long, long time. Rafa brought me here and gave me the chance to play in England. I have to say thank you for that. But now we have a new manager.
“I’m looking forward to working with him. He is very professional with lots of experience. Hopefully we will now have success, as we all want to win trophies.”
Meanwhile, Dirk Kuyt has promised Liverpool will not be taking Trabzonspur lightly, as they look to go one step better than last season in the Europa League.
“You always have to be ready and get your results in early in the season. We want to stay in the Europa League so we need a good result,” said Kuyt.
“We know from our games against Galatasaray and Besiktas that it can be difficult in Turkey, so we need a good result in the first-leg.”
“We were really close to winning it last season. We are all here to win trophies and if we could win it, then it would be a massive trophy for all the lads.”