Skrtel wary of Bent threat

The England international has five goals for the season but has not

found the net since November 5. However, he has a decent record

against Liverpool with three goals in his last four matches and

Skrtel has been on the receiving end of all of them. “Darren Bent

is a great player, an England international striker,” said the

centre-back. “We have to keep an eye on him all of the time and

stop him from scoring against us.” Sunday’s match will have special

significance for winger Stewart Downing as for the first time he

returns to the club he left in the summer to move to Anfield. The

England international was the match-winner the last time the two

sides met on the final day of the season with his volley giving the

midlanders three points at Villa Park. Skrtel hopes the 27-year-old

will be able to have a similar influence for the Reds this time

around. “It will be a special game for Stewart going back to his

former club. He did very well at Villa and I’m sure he will get a

good welcome. “He scored against us in the final game of last

season so it would be great if he could do that again for us this

time.” Liverpool returned to winnings ways last weekend by beating

QPR after seeing their 11-match unbeaten run come to an end at

Fulham a few days earlier. They remain in the hunt for a top-four

place and Skrtel believes the start of a compacted six weeks of

action is the ideal time to begin picking up momentum again. “We

have a lot of games around Christmas which is a very important

period for us,” he told “There are a lot of points

to play for and we need to get as many wins as we can, starting

with Villa. “They are not an easy side to play against and you

always get a difficult game. “But we will be up for the fight and

do everything we can to get the three points.”