• Premier League

Rodgers: No Napoli bid for Skrtel

ESPN staff
August 22, 2013
Martin Skrtel may not be able to get his place back in the Liverpool first team © PA Photos

Brendan Rodgers has denied any knowledge of a bid from Napoli for Liverpool's Martin Skrtel.

Earlier on Thursday, sourced told ESPN that Liverpool had rejected a £10m offer from Napoli. Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, who took charge of Napoli after leaving Chelsea at the end of last season, is believed to be keen on adding Skrtel to his squad.

"I haven't heard anything about that whatsoever," Rodgers said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. "Ian Ayre [the club's managing director] always informs me of what's happening, and I haven't heard anything."

Skrtel was absent from the squad for last Saturday's 1-0 Premier League win over Stoke as he recovers from strained ligaments in his left knee.

He faces a battle to regain a place in the starting line-up when fully fit, with Kolo Toure and new vice-captain Daniel Agger establishing themselves as the early-season first-choice centre-back pairing.

Skrtel, signed by Benitez from Zenit St Petersburg in January 2008, has been linked with Napoli for much of the summer.

He struggled for form last season, losing his first-team place to Jamie Carragher in January, and admitted in May that he had considered a move away from Anfield.

Rodgers insisted at the end of last term that Skrtel was not for sale, and any prospect of a change in that policy appears to have been ended by a serious knee injury to Sebastian Coates.

The Uruguay international is set for surgery on Friday after suffering a torn ligament, and is expected to be out of action until the spring.

That leaves Skrtel as the only experienced cover for the central-defensive positions if anything should happen to Agger or Toure.

Rodgers did not name any potential transfer targets, but confirmed that Coates was set for a lengthy absence.

"He'll probably be out for most of the season," Rodgers said. "It is disappointing for him because he has never given me a minute's problem, and this was probably the year he would go out and play."

Asked whether he would look to bring in another defender as cover, Rodgers said: "It's something that we are looking at - a player to come into that position."

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