Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed that he is extremely happy with the way Slovakian defender Martin Skrtel has become a leader in the team after almost coming close to the exit door in the summer.

Skrtel fell out of favour with Brendan Rodgers last season and he rarely featured for the first-team. He was expected to leave the club in the summer with the likes of Napoli showing interest in him. He moved to Napoli would have reunited him with Rafa Benitez, who was the man who brought into Anfield in the first place.

However, Rodgers and Skrtel patched up their differences and they were able to make up for lost ground. The defender has been spectacular for Liverpool, as they are close to sealing a spot to qualify for the Champions league next season. This will see the club return to the competition, which they have won five times in their history. They have not been in this competition since 2009. Skrtel reportedly made playing in the Champions league a key priority. He would have definitely left the club if Liverpool did not make it next season.

The former Swansea manager has expressed delight at the way the defender has been able to change himself.

"I wouldn't be lying if I said that after last season I was thinking about leaving Liverpool. But it is not an easy decision to leave a club like this. I have been here for six years and Liverpool is, for me, one of the biggest in the world. I decided to stay and fight for my place. After games like Arsenal I am just happy I did and proud to be here. There was a lot of talk and rumours that I would go but I was happy to stay," said Skrtel ahead of the Arsenal match.