Martin Skrtel hoping to give Liverpool a boost with Europa League return

Second leg could see Slovakian back in action...
Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel hopes to play a part in the remainder of the club's Europa League campaign as he gradually gets back to full fitness.

The Slovakian international has been out of action since breaking a metatarsal against Unirea Urziceni at the end of February, but is targeting the second leg of the Reds' semi-final with Atletico Madrid to return to action.

"I am working hard with the physios and I hope to play again before the end of the season," Skrtel told Liverpool's official website.

"I am feeling much better now and I can't wait to get back on the field again.

"A few days ago I started working with the ball again and the foot was better. I'm still not ready to join in full training yet but I'm getting there.

"I have missed two months and I'm not happy when I can't play. It's been very frustrating because when I first got the injury, I couldn't drive or do anything so it was hard, but I have had great support from my family, teammates and the physios."

Rafael Benitez's side must do without Skrtel for the first leg, which takes place at the Vicente Calderon on Thursday. Despite an unconventional trip to the match - mostly by train thanks to volcanic ash grounding flights from the UK - Skrtel is confident the team will put themselves in position to win the tie at Anfield next week and progress to the final in Hamburg.

"I am confident the lads can do a good job and beat Atletico," he said.

"We have the second game in front of our fans and I think we will beat them at Anfield.

"It's the second most important competition in Europe after the Champions League and we want to win it. It would be special to win my first medal with Liverpool and I hope to get back and try and help the team."

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