Fulham manager Marco Silva has revealed that his key creator, Harry Wilson, is among those who will be absent for the Premier League opener against Liverpool.
Silva led Fulham back to the top flight with an emphatic, high-scoring campaign last time out, securing the Championship title with 90 points and 106 goals scored.
Central to their success in front of goal were the efforts of Wilson, who officially completed a £12 million move to Craven Cottage this summer following an agreed loan spell.
The Wales winger scored 10 goals and assisted a further 20 in 40 appearances in last season’s Championship, also netting one and assisting another in two outings in the FA Cup.
No player in the second tier created more chances the Wilson (102), who has finally settled at a permanent home after 16 years and six loan deals while at Liverpool.
But the Cottagers will be without the 25-year-old when they host his former club on Saturday, with Silva confirming both Wilson and midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah will miss the opener.
Wilson, he explained, is set to miss “more than eight weeks” with a knee injury.
Fulham do have a new face available to them in Brighton loanee Shane Duffy, who finalised his switch to west London on Friday.
Duffy arrives at a crucial time for Fulham, with Silva criticising the club’s lack of transfer activity earlier this week, insisting: “No one can prepare for one season with just two central defenders.”
The promoted club had been linked with Liverpool defender Nat Phillips, though Jurgen Klopp has now admitted that he will “probably” stay following an injury to Ibrahima Konate.
It remains to be seen whether Duffy will start on Saturday, with Silva’s other options being Tosin Adarabioyo and Tim Ream.
Fulham will also be without Fabio Carvalho, of course, with the 19-year-old having left earlier in the summer to join Liverpool in a deal worth up to £7.7 million.
Carvalho also scored 11 goals for Fulham last season, with Wilson the only player to assist more than the Portugal youth international, who set up eight.
Beyond striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, then, Silva will be without two of his three most productive attacking options from last season when the Reds arrive on Saturday.
Possible Fulham XI: Leno; Tete, Reim, Tosin, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed, Pereira; De Cordova-Reid, Kebano, Mitrovic