Martin Skrtel insists Adam Bogdan’s trio of penalty saves in the shootout win over Carlisle United didn’t take anyone within the Liverpool camp by surprise.
The Hungarian enjoyed a debut to savour as he thwarted three spot-kicks to ensure the Reds progressed into round four of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night.
However, Skrtel and co had already been given a glimpse of Bogdan’s penalty-saving prowess in a training session at Melwood earlier this week.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “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.”
Despite raining in nearly 50 shots on their goal over the course of 120 minutes, Liverpool found Carlisle to be stubborn opponents at Anfield.
Danny Ings gave the Reds an early lead when he headed in an Adam Lallana cross, but Derek Asamoah levelled for the League Two side before the break to ensure the game ended 1-1.
“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,” said Skrtel.
“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.”
Next up for Liverpool in the Capital One Cup is a home tie against AFC Bournemouth in October.
The Reds defeated the Cherries 1-0 at Anfield in a Barclays Premier League meeting in August, while last season they eliminated Eddie Howe’s side at the quarter-final stage of the League Cup.
“It will be tough,” reflected Skrtel. “We’ve played against them in the Premier League this season and in the cup last season, so we know they have a good team.
“But we will play at home, at Anfield, so the target will be to go through to the next round.”