A sluggish, difficult start to the season has meant that Liverpool have only won seven of their 14 home games so far this season. After making Anfield a fortress last season, it’s a disappointing return. Over the last three months, though, as their overall form has improved, so too have the home results, and Martin Skrtel believes that the fortress is back.
"It’s always an advantage to play at home because of the fans and the atmosphere," Skrtel told the club’s official website. "The atmosphere against City was unbelievable. For the last ten minutes, you couldn’t hear a single word on the pitch. We couldn’t talk to each other because the crowd was so loud. That’s what we like and we enjoy that, [and] I hope it’s going to be the same against Burnley."
While there have been injuries elsewhere on the pitch, Skrtel’s strong play as anchor in the back three has been the one constant in Liverpool’s resurgence. Simon Mignolet spent December in the doghouse; Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva have been injured in recent weeks; Philippe Coutinho’s form didn’t start to improve until half way through January; Daniel Sturridge still doesn’t look his best.
Amongst the players seen as most important to the improved form—or for hopes of even more to come—Skrtel is the one who’s been on the pitch throughout, leading a defence that started the season in shambles and that on recent form could end it one of the stingiest in the Premier League. A home match against Burnley gives them another chance to impress, but Skrtel isn’t taking a result for granted.
"Every single game is a difficult one," he added. "I remember the game we played away against Burnley and it wasn’t easy. They got a draw against Chelsea recently and they will try to do something similar at Anfield, but we are confident and we want to keep the momentum going. We will do everything we possibly can to get the three points."