Skrtel hails Bellamy influence

Stopper full of praise for team-mate after heroics against Toon

Craig Bellamy: Scored a brace against former club Newcastle on Friday night

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Martin Skrtel has hailed the quality Liverpool team-mate Craig Bellamy brings to the side following his impressive two-goal display against Newcastle on Friday.

The Wales international finished 2011 on a high after firing a brace against the Magpies at Anfield to help condemn his former club to a 3-1 defeat.

Skrtel believes Bellamy has proved himself a valuable asset to the Merseysiders since he returned to the club on a free transfer in the summer.

"Craig put in a really good performance and we were delighted for him to get two goals against his old club. He showed again what a great footballer he is," Skrtel told Liverpoolfc.tv.

"Everybody knows how much quality he has and he shows that in every single game he plays. He's a great player and we are delighted to have him on our side.

"It was a very important win for us, especially after not winning the previous two games, so we got the three points and we are really happy with that."

Special

Defender Skrtel also applauded captain Steven Gerrard after he came off the bench to complete the Reds' victory on Friday.

He added: "Stevie is special. He has been out for a while but he scored and showed how very important a player he is for Liverpool.

"He has given everyone a lot of confidence. We have a lot of games to play, just in January alone, and his return is a big boost to us. We are all happy to see him back."