Reds gaffer rocked by Skrtel blow
The Slovakian centre-back was injured in Thursday night's 3-1 victory away to Romanians Unirea Urziceni, which helped the Reds reach the last 16 of the Europa League. Benitez feared the worst and X-rays at the club's Melwood training ground on Friday have confirmed he has fractured a metatarsal in his right foot. "We were really disappointed after the game because it was a good result but then we had the bad news about Martin," said the Reds gaffer. "He's had X-rays today and they confirmed he has a broken metatarsal. "We have to check over the next couple of days how long it will take to recover." Skrtel's absence, however long or short it turns out to be, comes just as Benitez thought he finally had a full-strength squad with which to tackle their remaining 11 matches as they bid to secure Champions League football next season. Striker Fernando Torres and midfielder Yossi Benayoun, both so important to Liverpool's attacking options, have both returned in the last week after more than a month on the sidelines with injury. Even £17million summer signing Glen Johnson is nearing a comeback, having not played since late December because of a knee injury. "He's doing well. He was training today with the team - a light training session," said Benitez. "I was watching him and he was quite sharp but Sunday will be too soon." Jamie Carragher has been filling the England international's spot on the right of defence in the interim but with Skrtel now ruled out of Sunday's Premier League clash at home to Blackburn and Sotirios Kyrgiakos suspended, Liverpool's vice-captain is likely to switch back to the centre. That leaves an opening which could be filled by Philipp Degen, Martin Kelly or Stephen Darby.