Sotirios Kyrgiakos signs for Liverpool FC

RAFA BENITEZ believes new signing Sotirios Kyrgiakos will prove to be a big hit at Anfield.

The 30-year-old Greek international sealed his 1.5million move from AEK Athens yesterday after passing a medical at Melwood.

Kyrgiakos has signed a two-year deal with the option of a further year.

With Daniel Agger requiring back surgery and Martin Skrtel hampered by a cracked jaw, the centre-back could have a key role to play in the Reds' title challenge and Benitez insists he is up to the task.

"He is a tough defender who is strong and good in the air. He has a strong character and we were looking for these things," Benitez said.

"He can score goals and will be a threat from corners and free-kicks. He's very strong in defence but he will need time as always to settle into the Premier League.

"We knew the player when he was with Rangers and we've been watching videos of him at Frankfurt and the national team. Our scout department had a lot of information.

"We've talked about the things he's done before and the things he'll have to do for us. He knows what we want and he's ready to work."

Benitez believes youngsters like Martin Kelly and Daniel Ayala will benefit from training with the combative 6ft 4ins defender.

"I was talking with Ayala about this," Benitez said.

"When the young players see someone with experience it is positive because they can learn from them.

"It also means they have more time. If they have to play some games they can but they are not under pressure."

Meanwhile, Benitez has eased concerns over the extent of Agger's back injury.

The Dane will undergo surgery in France next week to correct the problem that has dogged him for several months.

It was initially feared he would be ruled out until November but Benitez said: "If everything goes well it won't take too much time, maybe a few weeks."

The Reds boss will leave it late before deciding whether Skrtel lines up against Aston Villa at Anfield on Monday night.

The Slovak missed the midweek win over Stoke due to the jaw injury he suffered in a collision with Jamie Carragher at Tottenham last Sunday.

"The other day it was too soon to take any risks but he's training and we'll see how he is on Monday," Benitez added.

Fernando Torres needed stitches in his eyebrow on Wednesday night but the striker has returned to training and is fine to face Martin O'Neill's side.

Meanwhile, Reds youngster Robbie Threlfall has joined Northampton Town on a month's loan.

The left-back, who has also had stints at Hereford and Stockport, will stay with the League Two outfit until September 19.