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Skrtel: "The Fans Will Help Us"

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Liverpool may be down by two goals in their Europa League tie with Zenit St. Petersburg, but Martin Skrtel believes a raucous Anfield crowd can help to turn the tide.

Clive Brunskill

Despite that Liverpool face a two goal deficit heading into Thursday's Europa League return leg against Zenit at Anfield, following a 5-0 demolition of Swansea over the weekend, many of the club's players remain bullish when it comes to their chances of advancing. And according to Martin Skrtel, a big reason for their confidence stems from knowing they'll have the fans behind them this time around.

"The atmosphere at Anfield in European games is always special," said Skrtel, "and the game on Thursday will be even more because we lost the first game and the crowd feel we need their help. I’m pretty sure they will help us.

"We know the fans will be behind us and they’ll help us to get into the next round. It’s not going to be easy but if we can get an early goal that will help us a lot. Then just try to play our game, create chances and take them. We believe we can beat them at home."

Finishing proved to be Liverpool's downfall in St. Petersburg last week, but in general Liverpool have been better at taking their chances—and keeping their opponents off the scoresheet, too—at home. In the league so far under Brendan Rodgers they've scored 27 times with a ratio of 1.83 goals scored for every one conceded at home, but on the road it's and even 1:1 ratio with only 22 goals scored.

Still, even with the supporters on their side and a better track record at Anfield, overcoming Zenit's two goal advantage—especially without an away goal to Liverpool's credit—is going to be difficult, and it's unlikely the hosts will head into Thursday favourites to move on to the round of 16.

"It could be better," he admitted. "We lost the first leg 2-0 and that was not the best result for us, but we’ve still got to play at Anfield. We lost there 2-0, the same can happen to them at Anfield. We still have a shot.

"We controlled the game and created four or five chances. Unfortunately we couldn’t take them and score a goal. That gives us belief for the next game—we created chances away so we’ll definitely create them at home. We just need to take them."

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