Martin Skrtel will be targeted by Zenit St Petersburg in January, but only if the Russians qualify from the Champions League group, reports talkSPORT.

It looked as though Skrtel's time at Liverpool was up in the summer after Brendan Rodgers reportedly told the central defender he could leave.

Rodgers signed Kolo Toure Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori in the summer as well as the arrival of Aly Cissokho on loan, making the Slovakian surplus to requirements.

However, a move failed to materialise and he has experienced somewhat of a reprieve at Anfield, starting five of Liverpool's opening seven Premier League games.

That has been somewhat caused by an injury crisis at the back that has seen Toure and Cissokho and Sebastian Coates miss several weeks through injury.

A return to fitness of the trio could see Skrtel let go in January and the Russian club are ready to pounce.

Zenit - the club he left to join Liverpool in 2009 - have set £16m aside for a new central defender and believes Skrtel will be willing to make a return to Russia should they qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

Thanks to Liverpool's lack of European presence, Skrtel would not be cup-tied for the latter stages should Zenit survive a group that also contains European powerhouses Porto and Atletico Madrid.

If they fail to qualify it is thought they will look to other targets.

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