Liverpool FC have strengthened their back line by signing Slovakia defender Martin Škrtel for a reported €10m from FC Zenit St. Petersburg.
The tall 23-year-old moves to Anfield on a contract until summer 2012 after helping Zenit to their first post-Soviet title last season, having joined from AS Trencín in 2004. Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez said: "He is aggressive, quick, good in the air and I think he's a very good player for the future and also for the present. He is very competitive, his mentality is very good. Watching him in some games his mentality is similar to [Jamie Carragher] so I think it's very positive for the team."
Although Škrtel was involved in Zenit's UEFA Cup campaign, including a match against Everton FC, Liverpool have the option of adding one player who has taken part in another European competition to their UEFA Champions League squad ahead of their first knockout round encounter with FC Internazionale Milano. The centre-back has 22 international caps
His fellow defender Daniel Agger would expect to feature in those games against Inter as he nears a first-team return, having been out since September with a metatarsal injury. The Danish Footballer of the Year told the club's official website: "Running around the training ground is not the same as doing it on the pitch, but I'm almost back to full fitness. I can't describe the feeling really. I'm looking very much forward to getting back. It is not fun being on the sidelines, especially not at a club like this."
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