David Moyes acknowledged it will be difficult for Sunderland to sign players as the club struggle on and off the field.
Sunderland languish third from bottom in the Premier League - two points from safety - while owner Ellis Short has already made it clear there will be limited funds in January with the team up for sale.
And ahead of Monday's visit of high-flying Liverpool, Moyes said: "Ellis will speak with me and I'll speak with Ellis, I've got no doubt.
"We'll see what we can do. It's difficult. It will even be difficult to attract the players.
"We need to say, 'We need you'."
Sunderland play host to second-placed Liverpool following their humiliating 4-1 defeat at Burnley on New Year's Eve.
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