Ahead of Saturday night’s preseason friendly with Toronto FC, Liverpoolfc.com caught up with Martin Skrtel to get his thoughts on the game and the Reds’ North America tour so far. Here’s what the 2011-12 Player of the Season had to say.
Martin, it’s back to the business of playing football. How much are you looking forward to it?
I think everybody is looking forward to this game because it is the first game of the season, and the first after more than two weeks of training. We’re excited about the game and we’ll definitely enjoy it.
Do you miss playing during your time off in the summer?
I was happy when the season ended because it was really long, and I really enjoyed my holiday. But then, after four or five weeks, I started missing football and began to look forward to the beginning of the season. Now we are back in business, starting to play games, and that’s really good for everyone.
There has been a lot of hard training for you over the last couple of weeks. Do you feel ready?
The first week of preseason is always hard because everything is about the physical work — and I don’t know any player who likes it! But we all know we need it for the season ahead. Now we’ve got our first game, and we need to show what we’ve got, both physically and in terms of football. I feel ready, and I’m looking forward to the game.
There are a lot of younger players in the squad on this tour. Will you and the other senior players have to help them through the games? A lot of them will be playing for the first team for the first time.
Yes, that’s our job. We are experienced players, and we are on the pitch to help the younger players. I think it’s good for the young players, but also for Liverpool Football Club because we can see the guys coming from the academy into the first team and getting experience. I think that’s good for the future.
How have they done in training?
They’ve done very well. They’re all nice guys and are working really hard. They also fit into the team, and I think the atmosphere within the squad is very good. We are looking forward to the game tonight, and we want to show our quality and definitely want to win.
What’s the message been from Brendan Rodgers? What has he said he wants from the game?
He said the first two or three games are all about our physical condition. We’ll play 45 minutes each. It’s also to show what we’ve been working on and using it in the games. We have to work hard in the game.
Away from football, you became a married man over the summer. Has it changed you much?
Not really, me and my missus were together for six years, so nothing’s really changed. I’m married now and happy about that — and I’m enjoying life as a married man!
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