Manager Previews Liverpool

Thursday 20 December 2012 16:00

All Martin Jol wants for Christmas is a full-strength squad to select from and the Whites Manager is confident the Team will see an upturn in fortunes over the festive period.

Jol welcomed Sascha Riether back into the fold on Thursday after our energetic right-back returned from a consultation with a specialist osteopath in Germany and trained with the rest of the Team ahead of Saturday’s (5.30pm) trip to Merseyside for the televised clash with Liverpool.

And Jol is hopeful that both playmaker Bryan Ruiz and enforcer Mahamadou Diarra will return to full training next week after analysing their rehabilitation progress from hamstring and knee injuries respectively.

Steve Sidwell will serve a one-match suspension and miss the Liverpool match, leaving Jol with a tactical decision to make in the middle of the park, but the Dutchman hinted he has a plan up his sleeve that he will reveal on Saturday.

“My first worry is the players and to get them back and first we need to overcome this game against Liverpool,” Jol told Fulhamfc.com. “We'll try to do that because we still have one or two solutions with players who can play in a different position. We have a little a problem in midfield, everybody can see that because Sidwell is not there.

“The only one who plays midfield who was here last year is Chris Baird, and last season he was a defender. But we trained on Thursday and we tried to do a certain shape with certain players, and I believe we have still got the players to do a job.

“Riether was in Germany with the osteopath, who we know well and he knows him well, he joined us in training on Thursday so I think he will be fine. 

“Diarra will still be out with his knee and hopefully he can join us next week in training. Brian Ruiz will hopefully join us the day after the Liverpool game, or two days after the game, and Neil Etheridge is injured.”

Despite a thoroughly disappointing outing against Queens Park Rangers last weekend, the Whites remain ahead of schedule in terms of last season's points tally, a factor that Jol believes will prove a strong foundation for the rest of the campaign. 

And, although there are more unfilled seats on the coach bound for Liverpool than the Manager would have hoped, Jol is optimistic that the Team’s patchwork midfield can prove to be more than a match for the Reds.

“We had a good start and we are still two points ahead of our points tally from last year, but we need the points and we need the players back," he stated. “We’ll soon have Diarra and Bryan Ruiz and, before that, we have to try and get a result against Liverpool. We have to do everything we can to get a result there.

“I think if our best players are back next week, I think we are fine. And we have worked hard in training so I think we could have a result against Liverpool.”