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Martin Skrtel is relishing an extended run in the Liverpool side but knows he can't afford to let his standards slip.
The Slovakian centre-back made his seventh successive start in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle United . Skrtel, who was out of favour in the second half of last season, has been one of the Reds' most consistent performers so far this term.
He has formed a back three alongside Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho in recent weeks, but with vice-captain Daniel Agger looking to force his way back into Brendan Rodgers' side Skrtel says no-one can afford to rest on their laurels.
Denmark international Agger has been on bench duty for the past three Premier League games after recovering from a rib injury.
"After last season when I couldn't get into the team, this season has been very different so far," Skrtel told the ECHO.
"I am very happy. I am playing every game and trying to do my best for the team.
"Now I have to try to stay in the starting XI. It's up to me to keep proving to the manager that I deserve a place.
"There is real competition for places at the back but that's good for everybody. It's important because it pushes everyone to do better. You have to show what you can do every day in training and you know that if don't perform there's someone waiting to take your place."
Skrtel admits Liverpool left St James' Park frustrated after failing to defeat 10-man Newcastle.
But with the Reds still flying high in third place - just two points adrift of leaders Arsenal - the 28-year-old insists there is plenty to be positive about ahead of Saturday's home clash with West Brom.
"It was disappointing to only get a point as for all of the second half we had an extra player," Skrtel added.
"For the opening 20 minutes we didn't play well.
"We couldn't keep the ball. After the red card the game changed and we got back level.
"We knew that in the second half they would sit deep, defend and then play for the counter-attack.
"The message from the manager was to be patient, keep the ball and try to score.
"Unfortunately we conceded again but after that we created some really good chances. Unfortunately we could only take one of them.
"We wanted three points but it wasn't an easy game for us after the internationals.
"We had a lot of players away and league games straight after an international break are always difficult to play. You don't have much time to prepare for them.
"Newcastle played well and it's a difficult ground to play at.
"The main thing is we didn't lose and we're still in a good position.
"Maybe in the future we will look back upon it as a good point for us.
"The league so far this season is very open.
"It's still early and even the small teams are full of energy and full of fight. It's not easy to play against them and we must ensure we keep improving."