Martin Skrtel believes Liverpool will benefit from a brief chance to recuperate following a hectic Christmas and New Year - but is well aware there'll be no chance for respite when they travel to Stoke City on Sunday.

The Reds played five games in 16 days over the festive period - and Skrtel was an ever-present in four of the clashes, watching from the bench in the final game against Oldham Athletic.

Next up for Brendan Rodgers' side is a trip to the Britannia Stadium, where Stoke have lost just once in the league this season, beating Chelsea and holding Everton and Manchester City to draws.

Skrtel is under no illusions as to the toughness of the test that awaits against the Potters - and he insists the weekend's clash against Mark Hughes' side is a must-win fixture.

"It was a really hectic period in December and we had also two games in January, so now we have a week to recover which seems like a lot of time for us," Skrtel wrote on his official website.

"But we know really well how difficult it is to play against Stoke in front of their fans and it is never easy.

"However, we want to win this game at all costs and continue our good run of form. And we want to stay on top so we really need three points from this game."