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The Reds boss concedes that it has been a difficult period for the Slovakia international defender but is adamant that there are no plans to sell him on at the end of the season

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has denied that he is set to sell Martin Skrtel in the summer.

The 28-year-old defender has started just two Premier League games since the turn of the year after losing his place in the starting XI to Jamie Carragher but, with the veteran set to retire in the summer and Sebastian Coates dramatically out of favour, the Reds boss insists that the Slovakian will remain involved.

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"It has been unfortunate for Martin but he has been a loyal member of the squad and is still very much part of my plans here," Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.

"He's happy here, he's not in any rush to leave but players want to play. I haven't had any concerns with Martin at all, his attitude has been first class. He is very much a part of what we are trying to do here."

Regarding Carragher usurping the Slovakian's place since January, Rodgers was quick to praise the former England international's form and organisational skills rather than downplay Skrtel's.

"We made the change a few months back and I think Jamie Carragher has arguably been one of the best defenders in the league," the Northern Irishman added.

"It has been difficult for [Skrtel] and I've acknowledged and recognised that. It wasn't so much through his form, it was just I felt we needed more of an organiser and a leader.

"We are trying to build up a group with a winning mentality and he's got a winning mentality. He is certainly a player we want to keep and we have no ideas of selling him."

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