Skrtel happy to belong at 'confident' club created by Dalglish

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The Independent Online

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel believes Kenny Dalglish's man-management skills have been key in turning around their failing season. Since the Scot took over from Roy Hodgson in early January after his disastrous six-month spell in charge, the Reds have accrued 20 points from 10 matches, losing just twice. That has put them within touching distance of fifth place – and the final qualifying spot for Europe – in the Premier League.

Skrtel has echoed the comments of many of his team-mates in admitting the atmosphere is totally different believes it is all down to the approach of the man rated the club's greatest player, as well as being the last manager to win the title at Anfield.

Dalglish has still to have a permanent contract offered to him by the club's owners, Fenway Sports Group, having originally been appointed until the end of the season only, but Skrtel would welcome him being given an extended deal.

"He knows how to take the pressure away and protect the squad," said the Slovakia international. "A lot has changed at the club recently, but the most important thing has been confidence. Kenny has given us that. With confidence you can achieve great things. Everybody is happy, looking forward to every single training session, every match. If he gets a contract for a long time, I'll be very happy. Every day he makes work interesting and enjoyable. We are winning games now. You can tell Kenny is a winner."

Skrtel's future was the subject of speculation back in January when he was enduring a poor run of form but the 26-year-old is happy at Anfield. "Why would I go anywhere else? I know I am at a huge club – one of the biggest in the world, with a history and a set of supporters no other club can match," he said.

Blackburn's owners Venky's admit they are worried about the threat of relegation but remain positive the club will survive in the Premier League. Rovers' last win in the league came on 23 January, when they were seventh in the table and nine points above the drop zone.

Since then they have take just two points from six matches and although they sit 13th, they are only a point above the bottom three, but co-owner Venkatesh Rao remains optimistic. "We are worried but we have to play well and get together as a team, and we have to get out of the situation," he said. "We are absolutely committed to the club."



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