Belfast Telegraph

European absence boosts Reds - Jol

Fulham manager Martin Jol believes tonight's opponents Liverpool may be benefiting from a season without European football.

The Cottagers head into Monday evening's clash at Craven Cottage 13 points behind the Merseysiders, lying 15th in the Barclays Premier League table. Fulham's Europa League exertions have been blamed for their indifferent domestic form and many suggest the competition is merely a hindrance.

Asked whether Liverpool have benefited from not being in Europe this season, Jol said: "That's what they say in England. They are quite clear about it, especially the big clubs and Liverpool are a big club."

He added: "Although they have big squads, it's a problem for other teams like Stoke, who play an away game in Europe and then an away game in the league.

"But we can't complain about it because we are in Europe. I think Liverpool are quite happy not to play in it, and maybe Spurs as well. I think Harry [Redknapp, Tottenham manager] said it could be quite a challenge."

Fulham face Liverpool on the back of Thursday's last-gasp Europa League defeat to FC Twente. The Cottagers struggled going forward in Holland, a trait which has become a hallmark of their season.

Jol was disappointed at the defeat in his homeland, but is confident his side will soon start finding the net with regularity.

"Sometimes we have showed in Europe and sometimes in the league that we can score goals," he said.

"We have scored two goals away from home against Wigan and six against QPR, but it is not the consistent thing that I would like it to be.

"Even against Arsenal we scored a goal and it is always a nice cushion when you are looking for a result."

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