Fulham manager Martin Jol remains confident his side can claim a positive result at Liverpool despite his severely depleted midfield resources.
Steve Sidwell’s one-match ban for collecting five yellow cards, as well as Bryan Ruiz and Mahamadou Diarra still sidelined with injuries, means Fulham will be without the majority of their central midfield players for the Barclays Premier League clash at Anfield.
A run of just one win in the club’s last nine league outings mean Fulham are now only five points clear of the relegation zone.
Jol remains upbeat about the league position but knows a result at Liverpool, followed by a string of players returning to the fold, would be a timely boost.
“It is about winning games so if we can pull a few games together and have a few wins we will be fine again – but we need to come up with solutions and results,” he said.
“It is a constant worry, that is why a lot of managers in the Premier League will tell you they need 40 points as soon as possible.
“There are so many points to gain and so many games to play, I would be worried if we were in the bottom three but now my first worry is the (injured) players and getting them back.
“We have got a problem in midfield, everyone can see that.
“The only one who is there is Chris Baird and he is a defender, we have trained this week and tried to do a certain shape with certain players and we still have the players to do a job.”
The high-profile summer acquisition of Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United, coupled with a good start to the season, left many suggesting Fulham could have a successful campaign.
But Jol is keen to stress he will not put pressure on Berbatov to lift the team out of the current rut.
He said: “You can’t rely on one player so hopefully in the next game we will come up with a good result and after that we will have more options .
“We need the points and we need the players.
“Hopefully next week my better players are back, Diarra and Bryan Ruiz, before that we have to try and get a result against Liverpool.
“We were looking fine but we always knew the reality of life – if you would have told me in July that five of my best players in midfield are missing I would worry.”
Tomorrow’s match will be the first meeting between the two clubs since the Cottagers reported Liverpool to the Football Association for what they believed was an inappropriate pursuit of Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey instead moved to Tottenham on the final day of the summer transfer window and Liverpool have since apologised to Fulham and seen the tapping-up claims dropped.
But Jol will not attach any added importance to the game.
When asked if he felt the match would mean more he said: “No, because Brendan Rodgers is a great man and I know him well.”
“He is a fine colleague and I said two weeks ago that they have made an apology so that is it, period.”
Defender Aaron Hughes is hoping the team bounces back from an abject performance against local rivals QPR last weekend that saw Fulham lose 2-1 and underlined the magnitude of a potential victory over the Reds.
“A derby is not a normal game, it always has that little bit extra around it and I think we were disappointed because we didn’t play as well as we could have,” he told the club’s official website.
“To get one at Anfield would be a massive achievement for us.
“Maybe they’re not as consistent as people would expect them to be, but it’s still Liverpool and it’s still Anfield so no matter what time of year or what vein of form they are in, you know it’s going to be a difficult game.”