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 on Tuesday.

Reds spokesman Ian Cotton said: "Martin was examined by a specialist, 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."

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