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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Skrtel facing long spell out with cruciate injury

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez will be without defender Martin Skrtel for months after scans on Monday revealed he has suffered posterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee. The Slovakian international appeared to twist his knee towards the end of the victory at Manchester City on Sunday and will now see a specialist to discover the extent of the damage

"Martin underwent a scan this morning which showed damage to the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee,'' club spokesman Ian Cotton told the club's official website.

"He will see a specialist tomorrow to assess the extent of the injury and will then have an accurate idea of the timescales involved before he is back playing again.''

The 23-year-old has started every League and European match since being left out of the opener against Sunderland in August and has become an integral part of a settled defence which, until yesterday, has not conceded a goal away from Anfield all season.

Skrtel's injury is likely to give Danish defender Dan Agger the chance to stake his claim for a place in the side. Agger has failed to win back his place in the side since suffering a metatarsal injury at the start of last season.

Benitez, meanwhile, has revealed a simple formula to success as his side's bid to win their first Premier League title gathered momentum.

The Reds have not won the domestic title since since 1990 but a rousing 3-2 victory at City - where they came back from 2-0 down - was a further indication of their improvement and willingness to dig in when needed.

"We have a clear idea of what we have to do,'' Benitez said. "We have to go one game at a time. This was another great win and three points.

"The main thing from my point of view is the belief of the players.''

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