Liverpool and Slovakia defender Martin Skrtel has denied suggestions that he is feeling regret for his stamp on United goalkeeper David de Gea which earned him a three match ban from the English FA.
Skrtel has consistently denied that the stamp was intentional. The referee failed to spot this incident, which occurred in the final minutes of the recent 2-1 defeat against United, but it was captured on television. The English FA have used the video evidence to retrospectively ban the player. He becomes one of the few to have been banned for a stamp this season.
Skrtel will miss key matches against the likes of Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers as a result of this ban. It couldn’t have come at a much worse time for Liverpool, who will also be without Steven Gerrard for these matches. The Liverpool captain was sent off with a straight red card for his own stamp on United midfielder Ander Herrera. Skrtel will start serving the ban immediately, but he continues to plead his case of innocence. After a shaky start to the season, the Slovakian defender looks to be once again at his best in the last few months. His absence will pose a lot of problems for Liverpool at the back.
“It feels strange because we appealed against those charges and still I was hit by a three-match ban. I didn’t want to stamp on him. It was an accident and I didn’t do it on purpose. I don’t feel guilty. It was a long ball and he went towards me and I wanted to jump over him. Simple as that,” said Skrtel, who has also failed to win the Slovak footballer of the year award. It has been given to Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik. Skrtel won this award back in 2012 and several years prior to it.