Martin Skrtel has pinpointed what he believes to have been a watershed moment for him in 2013-14 that enabled him to establish himself as a regular starter at the heart of Liverpool's defence.

The Slovakian centre-back played 36 matches in the Barclays Premier League last term - a tally only bettered by Simon Mignolet, who figured in every top-flight outing.

And Skrtel feels it was a commanding display in a 1-0 win against Manchester United back in September that helped cement his place in the starting XI.

"It was first due to performances in training, and then matches," he told his official website.

"This season there was a watershed match with Manchester United at Anfield, where I was declared man of the match - and after that, I played in all the matches, nearly 40 games.

"Only the goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet, played more [in the league].

"I also scored seven goals, which is the highest among the defenders in the league, so I think that also helped."

Liverpool's second-place finish in the Barclays Premier League secured a return to the Champions League - and Skrtel admits he can't wait to be involved in the tournament once again.

"It's the best competition in the world, everyone wants to play in it," he added.

"I had the opportunity to sample the atmosphere of it during my early years in Liverpool and I'm glad I'll now be able to experience it again."