Will Martin Skrtel be able to get the better of Christian Benteke on Sunday…?
You can’t help but feel that Martin Skrtel has been chomping at the bit ever since he was handed down his three-match suspension for ‘stamping’ on Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.
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The obvious hardship he felt at the decision, combined with watching our new-look defence crumble against Arsenal in the following game, will have only furthered his desire to get back involved.
There are few more important players to Brendan Rodgers’ side than the fearsome Slovakian, who the boss is no doubt delighted to have available again for such a crunch fixture.
Skrtel himself is already eyeing up the man who will be looking to be the thorn in his side on Sunday. Christian Benteke’s recent return to form has certainly added an air of uncertainty to this FA Cup semi-final, a threat that Skrtel will be looking to eliminate.
The Belgian has scored nine goals in eight games for club and country since the start of March, with his rise matching that of new manager Tim Sherwood, who has enjoyed great success since his arrival at Villa Park.
Benteke bagged a hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers ten days ago and followed that up with the winner against Sherwood’s former club Tottenham last weekend. He’ll now be looking to put the Reds to the sword.
Speaking about the potential match-up in quotes taken by the Daily Mirror, Skrtel said: “To be honest, I prefer to play against the type of striker like him, like Costa.
“That is better because for me I don’t want to chase the little guys. Obviously I don’t want to say it is easier for me, but I enjoy that more. There will be a physical battle, no doubt.
“He is the type of player you have to expect that because he is big and strong. He is quick, too, but we are ready for that and we will do everything to stop him.
“I’m tall as well and try to be strong. When we go to the 50/50 challenge we’ll see who is better in that moment.
“After they changed the manager, they are doing well. He is always difficult to play against but we played them twice this season and we could handle him. I just hope we can do that again.”