Reds reject Napoli bid for Martin Skrtel

Liverpool have rejected a £10 million bid from Napoli for centre-back Martin Skrtel.

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Former Reds boss Rafa Benitez, who took charge of the Serie A side after leaving Chelsea at the end of last season, was hoping to add the Slovakia international to his squad.

However, an approach for the 28-year-old has been knocked back by Liverpool, sources have told ESPN.

Skrtel was absent from the Reds squad for last Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Stoke as he recovered from strained ligaments in his left knee.

The defender faces a battle to regain a place in the starting line-up when fully fit, with Kolo Toure and new vice-captain Daniel Agger establishing themselves as the early-season first-choice centre-back pairing.

Skrtel, signed for Liverpool by Benitez from Zenit St Petersburg in January 2008, has been linked with Napoli for much of the summer.

The former Trencin player struggled for form last season, losing his first-team place to Jamie Carragher in January, and admitted in May that he had considered a move away from Anfield.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insisted at the end of last term that Skrtel was not for sale, and any prospect of a change in that policy appears to have been ended by a serious knee injury to Sebastian Coates.

The Uruguay international is set for surgery on Friday after suffering a torn ligament, and is expected to be out of action until the spring.

That leaves Skrtel as the only experienced cover for the central-defensive positions if anything should happen to Agger or Toure.