Martin Skrtel says he is happy to fight for his place in Liverpool’s first team this season, despite the strong competition from the arrival of Kolo Toure.
Last season, veteran defender Jamie Carragher was preferred to Skrtel as Daniel Agger’s first choice central defensive partnership after a series of errors in the early part of the season.
Since Carragher’s retirement, manager Brendan Rodgers has brought in the experience of Toure on a free transfer from Manchester City and his pre-season performances have shown him to look very composed alongside Agger.
Skrtel had been linked with an exit from the club this summer, but with just two days until the new league season kicks off, the Slovakian international seems determined to win his place in the side back.
“I think it’s always good when there is competition for places and it’s very important for your performance,” the 28-year-old told the club’s official website.
“The manager will decide who is in the best form and start that player. I’ll do my best and all I can to make sure that I’m the one he’s going to be starting with.
“Kolo is a great player. He’s a very experienced player and he has been playing in the Premier League for a while.
“Throughout the five or six weeks he has been with us, he has shown that he is a quality player. He came in to play the same position as me, so we’ll see who is going to start.
“Of course I will try to improve this season because I missed the second part of last season. I tried to do my best in the pre-season and show the manager I am able to play, so we’ll see how it goes this season.
“I’m ready. I was ready before and I’ll always be ready. Then it’s up to the manager who is going to start. I will try and I will give my all to get into the team.”
Since moving to Liverpool from Zenit St Petersburg in January 2008, Skrtel has made 206 appearances for the Reds, getting on the scoresheet 9 times.
After 25 appearances for the first team in the league in 2012/13, the new season sees the biggest challenge yet for Skrtel to impress.
With Agger the established first choice central defender, Skrtel will be in competition with Toure, Andre Wisdom, Martin Kelly and Sebastian Coates.