Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is confident that Daniel Agger will return over the Christmas period as he recovers from his calf problem.
The Dane has been out of action since September with the injury, but under-fire Hodgson believes he could be back in the fold soon.
The Reds are struggling at the back without fellow absentee Jamie Carragher, with Newcastle exposing several frailties in their backline in the 3-1 win at St James' Park on Saturday.
"Agger is making good progress but he is not training with the team yet and is under the control of the sports science team," Hodgson told the club's official website.
"He is running in straight lines and his work-rate and effort has been first class so it is now a case of when do we take the chance and say let's stick him in again."
Hodgson is preparing for their final Europa League group game against Utrecht on Wednesday, with his side already qualified for the next stage of the competition.
With this in mind he is unlikely to risk striker David Ngog, who cut his eye against the Magpies and needed stitches.
"I think if the game had been a semi-final of the competition or a really important qualification game and we really did need him I think he probably could play on Wednesday, but when you get a cut on your eye the longer we can leave it the better," he added.
"You couldn't play with that cut and not get a ball landing on it at some stage during the game but I think he will be fine for the Fulham game."