Skrtel: Liverpool must defend 'as a group'

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel said his team's ability to defend across the park could be the difference for the title aspirants this term.

Brendan Rodgers' men shipped a half-century of goals in their 2013-14 season, one in which they fell agonisingly short of claiming their first-ever Premier League crown.

Four of those goals came via Skrtel as he broke the record for most own goals in a season, although the Slovakian stopper also scored seven up the right end of the pitch too.

Skrtel said if Rodgers' side gelled together defensively as an entire unit, it would ease the pressure on the last line.

"Obviously it hurt but it's not only about the back four, it's about the team and defending as a group," Skrtel said.

"Because we conceded 50 goals, some people are blaming the back four, but it isn't just about the back line, it is about defending as a team and that's the big thing that we need to improve.

"If we do that we will stop people from talking about the defence.

"If we can do that and also cut out some of the individual mistakes it will make a big difference."

Skrtel said Liverpool may have suffered from an over-aggressive tendency, as their attempt to build their goal difference, while 3-0 up at Crystal Palace ultimately saw them draw 3-3 in their killer blow to their title hopes in May.

"We are a team that likes to attack and a lot of players like to get forward so that is maybe something that we need to work on because not everyone can go forward, sometimes you have to defend too," he said.

"We'll see anyway, we will work on it and try to improve it.

"As players we are not happy with that record but we know the direction we were going in as a team last season and we will try to improve on that in the new one."