Martin Skrtel says the penalty shoot-out win over League Two side Carlisle shows Liverpool are “mentally strong”.
The Reds progressed to the Capital One Cup fourth round after eventually seeing off the Cumbrians on spot-kicks following a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes and extra time.
The scare at the hands of Keith Curle’s side came on the back of a poor run of form, with poor form and a winless run of four Premier League games putting Brendan Rodgers under intense pressure.
But Skrtel believes Liverpool showed their nerve to eventually beat a Carlisle side 61 places below them in the Football League.
“When the teams from the lower leagues come to Anfield, they come here with nothing to lose so they just try to defend well and score from a counter attack,” Skrtel told the official Liverpool website.
“It was the same against Carlisle. We had plenty of chances to score, but unfortunately we didn’t take them and the game finished with penalties – but we’re happy we went through.
“That showed we are mentally strong because it’s not easy to play for 120 minutes and then go to penalties. We won the game, so I think it was very important for us that we won. It can give us some confidence for the next game.”
Skrtel revealed Liverpool had been practising penalties ahead of the Carlisle clash and the Slovakian defender says he was not surprised to see keeper Adam Bogdan make three saves in the shoot-out.
He said: “It was great for Adam. We’d practiced penalties the day before the game just in case – and it turned out we needed them to go through.
“Adam was good. It was his first game, his first game at Anfield, and he’s been doing well. In the penalties, he showed his quality.
“Obviously we expected it to be a different game, but as we know there is no easy game here in England.
“But the main thing is we went through to the next round and we’re happy about that.”