Martin Skrtel credits Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher for helping him over the first hurdles he faced as a Liverpool player.

He is one of just two outfield players - Everton's Leighton Baines is the other - to have played every minute of every league game: 3,330 going into today's final round of matches.

"English football was not easy at the start for me because of the pace of the game. But Carra and Sami Hyypia kept talking to me, teaching me," he told the Mail on Sunday.

He is just 90 minutes away from reaching his special achievement and a few aches and strains from nine months of football will not stop him being at Villa Park.

"Small injuries are part of football. If the pain is not really big, and you can run, you can still play,' he says sternly. You would not argue with him."

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