Skrtel to be back in action by Christmas

October 7, 2008

Liverpool have revealed defender Martin Skrtel does not need an operation on his right knee and should return to action by Christmas.

The Slovakian centre-back damaged his posterior cruciate ligament in Sunday's 3-2 win at Manchester City and had a scan this afternoon.

Reds spokesman Ian Cotton said: "Martin was examined by a specialist today, who confirmed the player does not require surgery and is expected to be back playing by Christmas.''

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez will undoubtedly be buoyed by the news although he is confident the likes of Sami Hyypia and Daniel Agger can fill the breach adequately.

"Everyone can see that the understanding between Martin and Carra is becoming really good,'' Benitez told the club's website, Liverpoolfc.tv.

"To lose a player who is doing well is always a problem. It's bad news, but we have other options.

"Martin has learned a lot. He already had good qualities and potential when we decided to bring him here.

"We had a lot of confidence in him but you can always improve, especially playing alongside experienced players and working under the staff here. He has done that.

"He has given me a selection headache this season but that is a good problem for me as a manager.''

Agger, 23, insists he will seize his chance to shine.

The Dane has been a peripheral figure at Anfield so far this season and is yet to figure in the Barclays Premier League, with Skrtel and Carragher preferred by Benitez.

But the Denmark international has vowed to make the most of his team-mate's misfortune.

"Of course I hope to get some playing time, but this is not exactly the way I wished to get it.

"I know Martin very well because I share a room with him when we travel,'' said Agger.

"I hope to get my chance and then I will prove that it's my place.

"On the other hand, it might as well be (Jamie) Carragher's place because I don't know why people only say it is me or Skrtel who are fighting each other for a place in the team.

"I have had to be patient this season and wait for my chance, I know how things are.

"The team have been playing really well and the results have been great, so I couldn't really expect the manager to make too many changes.

"The only thing for me to do was get my head down and concentrate on getting as fit as possible, so that if an opportunity came along, I was ready to take it.''