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Hodgson not entirely to blame for a lacklustre Liverpool

At the start of this Premiership season I submitted an article suggesting that fans of Liverpool FC could feel quietly confident of what lay ahead following the appointment of Roy Hodgson and the signing of Joe Cole on a free transfer. Barely 5 months on, and you can see for yourself what a spectacular misjudgement that was.

At the time of writing, word out of Anfield seemed to suggest that the former Fulham manager’s eventful tenure was being discussed thoroughly. With the next game seeing Hodgson travel to bitter rivals Manchester United in the F.A Cup; rivals who are unbeaten in the Premiership this season and heavy favourites to take top spot come May, there seems to be no respite for a man who just last season celebrated being awarded the LMA Manager of the Year award.

So why the change in fortunes? Managers cannot become bad at their jobs overnight, or rather, in a 20 week period. Taking Fulham to the Europa League final, comprehensively beating established European teams like Shaktar Donestk and Juventus only to lose narrowly in extra time to Spanish opposition; sparked by a Uruguayan who would later be crowned player of the World Cup, is a fantastic achievement. It was an achievement that saw Hodgson become courted by the Liverpool hierarchy, and ultimately saw him become manager in a move that few could call unwise at the time. He settled in quickly, giving the required assurances to Liverpool’s catalysts, Captain Fantastic Steven Gerrard and star striker Fernando Torres. Then Cole arrived, leaving London for Merseyside. Although Javier Mascherano was to skulk out of the exit door, things looked fairly bright for Hodgson and the football club that simply had to exorcise the demons of the previous season, where they finished 7th. Unfortunately the results that have come with this new season have somewhat banished that bright outlook, turning instead to dark times for England’s most successful club. Continue with current form and it will be relegation evasion rather than European qualification that is the objective for 2010/11. Who would have ever thought they would be saying that about Liverpool?

It is arguable that the manager’s transfers haven’t been the wisest. Players such as Raul Meireles and Christian Poulsen, supposedly perceived as signings made to replace the fearless, determined Mascherano, have flattered to deceive. Cole himself has struggled with injury problems, but when given time on the pitch he simply hasn’t reproduced the goods that everyone knows he is capable of; his tap in against Bolton, although undeniably important for Liverpool and Hodgson, was only his first league goal of the season. It is all well and good to identify targets such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Danny Sturridge and Luiz Suarez, but would anyone of such quality really want to roll up their sleeves and join Liverpool’s battle for redemption?

Furthermore, the simply abject displays that Liverpool have produced on recent outings against Wolves and at Blackburn highlight the work of a man in desperation, struggling to find answers. Changes on the pitch seem to arrive too late, and as an attacking force the club with arguably the greatest striker in the world supported by a still gifted, talismanic attacking midfielder is stagnant, players seemingly perplexed by negative tactics. Excusing comprehensive home victories against clubs in claret and blue in worse positions then their own, Liverpool have scored just 9 goals in 10 appearances. Not good enough for a club that have previously held Dalglish, Rush, Owen and Fowler amongst their formerly enviable ranks.

These abject displays though are also the key witness in the defence for Roy Hodgson. Liverpool, Torres and Gerrard apart, can’t call on the quality that they once had. Losing Jamie Carragher for around 3 months was certainly an ill-timed irritant, and his replacements have failed to shut out attacking opposition, leaving Pepe Reina exposed far too often. Pointing again to the performances against Wolves and Blackburn, not to mention Bolton’s effort when taking the lead at Anfield recently, all 5 goals highlight catastrophic errors by the back line. Sotirios Kyrgiakos has been woeful, and Glen Johnson seems to have gone backwards as a player. Hodgson, try as he might, cannot position his troops or head balls away, and his anxiety on both the touchline and now on television is a tangible result for all to see. Moreover, despite the quality of Torres and Gerrard, neither are on the form of seasons gone by. Gerrard’s penalty miss at Ewood Park, and his tranquil demeanour in the immediate aftermath, seemed to show lack of fight. What can Hodgson do about that?

Liverpool’s boardroom plight must surely also have had derogatory effects on the club. Seemingly close to administration before takeover, and now without the funds needed to purchase real quality that will bring improved performance and solid effort to the football club, tight purse strings demand that Hodgson works with what he has at his disposal. As discussed, his resources aren’t plentiful. With Manchester City and Tottenham able to splurge on talent as they see fit, the decline wasn’t actually hard to see happening. It is the degree of the slump which has fans worried about their club, and Hodgson worried about his job.

Hodgson could still have time to save himself. Following the trip to Manchester, a run of league games sees Liverpool face Blackpool, Everton, Wolves, Fulham and Stoke. With that Blackpool game their game in hand on all the teams above them, 6th place is still within the realms of possibility, maybe even 5th given Chelsea’s current turmoil. If however more disappointment emits from this winnable run, then surely not even the most patient of supporters could realistically give more time to the under-pressure chief.

Is it time for Roy Hodgson to leave Liverpool? Should he quit rather than being sacked? Please air your opinions below.



  1. ynwa

    January 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

    He should have NEVER been appointed!!!

    • anand

      January 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      I totally agree. A good manager who has to manage a bunch of idiots ……….

      • ynwa

        January 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

        Are you his mother, too?……or do you feel sorry for the twat!!!

  2. Rick

    January 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Good article. I still say that Roy is the fall guy for brutal mistakes made by Benitez. Benitez, a power junkie, has left our club in a bad condition. He was the cause of great players like Alonso leaving! Everybody seems to forget how poor we played last season and how his absurd tantrums cost us 2 seasons ago.

    Then he walked away into a job where Jose won everything. The players there are world class and still he messed up that club and got fired AGAIN!

    Please Mr Henry, don’t allow Benitez close to LFC?

    Roy are managing a bunch of underperformers who’s earning way too much money for my liking! Gerrard and Reina are really the only two players that deserve to wear the red shirt. Get rid of all the rest!

    • ynwa

      January 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

      RICK……you seriously need to take your head out your arse!!!! and then go and watch CRICKET cause it is obvious that, you know FA about football!.

  3. kkk

    January 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

    @ Rick..”He was the cause of great players like Alonso leaving”…Who bought Alonso in the first place ?
    If Liverpool are in such a bad shape without Arbeloa, Mascherano & bad a manager must Rafael Benitez have been ?

    Forget it’ll never understand!

  4. Gavin

    January 7, 2011 at 10:35 am

    @Rick, get a life. You sound like all those idiots sitting in the Sky Sports Studio and some former Liverpool Players who blame everything on Rafa. You lot seem to forget that if Rafa has left such a bad team to work with, how come is it that Liverpool had the most Players represented at the World Cup in South Africa??? At least Rafa had the balls to stand up for the LFC players. He took the blame for the losses that LFC incured, he did not pawn it off on the players, or the previous manager. You talk about Inter….you do realise that the average age of the Inter Teams is 31, and you do realise that at the time that Rafa was sacked, he still did not have use of 6 of his starting 11……I am sure you knew that

    I guess you would like him to continue as manager as LFC…..i can imagine the great signings he will make if his signings in the Summer are anything to go by.

    You say everbody seems to forget how bad LFC played last season……i can assure, nothing has compared to the type of football played this season…..DO YOU ACTUALLY WATCH FOOTBALL? You do realise that fans have stopped attending matches and people are disinterrested in watching the games on TV.

    Rick, by your reasoning, every manager that takes over a club can blame the previous manager for their failings.

    Stop being naive and think for yourself.

    • the_realist

      January 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      gavin mate- wt r u talkin bowt!!

      u tell me wt rafa did!!! 2 trophies in 6 yrs- cum on mate- that aint a success!!!

      and hahaha- who cares if ur squad had the most represented players- which countries are they from and to be honest u tell me if they are international first teamers- i doubt it!!

      and u make excuses bowt inter milan- mate he took a team that won the treble and turned them into a shambles!!!! they are a mile off the seria a 1st place. jus bowt qualified for champions league!!

      mate- u luv ya excuses just like rafa- injuries injuries, blah blah.

      cum on mate- tke sum responsibility!!!

      mate all ill say is luk at where rafa gt lfc- 2004- they were 4th and luk where he left them- 2010- 7th!!

      and to be honest the squad he’s left is worse than houllier’s squad!!! (the 2nd team)!!

  5. Dave

    January 7, 2011 at 10:44 am

    This is not Roys fault. The problem is within the club itself. Liverpool hierarchy and fan base are diluded if they think liverpool are a top 5 side. With the exception of three players you can keep the rest. I really feel for gerrard, torres and reina cause the rest are pants. The missguided loyalty shown to Carragher is a prime example. I’m not saying he lacks effort, just ability, I mean he was Englands fifth choice centre back and the fans think hes great. Says it all really The rot was started by benitez who inherited a very good side won the european cup with it then proceeded in dismantling it to fuel his own ego. I mean this is the guy who played gerrard on the wing and only won the european cup when he moved gerrard to centre in the second half and still wouldn’t acknowledge he was wrong. He had one of the best midfeilders in the world in alonso and wanted shut so he could buy gareth barry for gods sake. He spent £200 mill and won an fa cup after all his tinkering and then demaded more money or he would leave. I say bring him back lets see what he can do a second time around. Roy Hodgson on the other hand is a very good manager he just needs a bit of backing and a lot of support and a bit of loyalty

    • ynwa

      January 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      Dave….go back to your COMOTOSE state and, get back when you have learned something about football!!!.

    • ynwa

      January 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      ‘Roy Hodgson on the other hand is a very good manager’???, Which planet have you decsended from????. Go back to sleep.

  6. Chunky

    January 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Of course not! It is everybody elses fault. It’s the team’s fault. The groundsmen and gatemen are at fault. Most of the taxi drivers who bring the fans are at fault. The fact that Liverpool play in the Premiership is a fault as listening to all the knockers we should be in the local schools league ( and not too far up it either!). for God’s sake will all these carping moaners get over Benitez!

  7. Rick

    January 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Wow, it’s rather interesting how some still think of Benitez as the saviour.

    Benitez has really brainwashed most of you! You pass on irrational comments and insults. I bet you Alex Ferguson is praying that “power freak” Benitez gets the job again, because then Man Utd will reign supreme for another idecade.

    And I refuse to steep down to your level and will refrain from name calling.

  8. ynwa

    January 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Rick….you do sound like a girl, ye?

    • the_realist

      January 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      ynwa mate- wt r u talkin bowt!!

      u tell me wt rafa did!!! 2 trophies in 6 yrs- cum on mate- that aint a success!!!

      and hahaha- who cares if ur squad had the most represented players- which countries are they from and to be honest u tell me if they are international first teamers- i doubt it!!

      and u make excuses bowt inter milan- mate he took a team that won the treble and turned them into a shambles!!!! they are a mile off the seria a 1st place. jus bowt qualified for champions league!!

      mate- u luv ya excuses just like rafa- injuries injuries, blah blah.

      cum on mate- tke sum responsibility!!!

      mate all ill say is luk at where rafa gt lfc- 2004- they were 4th and luk where he left them- 2010- 7th!!

      and to be honest the squad he’s left is worse than houllier’s squad!!! (the 2nd team)!!

      • ynwa

        January 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm

        REALIST?…..sounds more like…..ILLUSIONIST!.Nough said.

        • anand

          January 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

          ynwa ….. you sound more like an asshole who have never kicked a ball before. You support Rafa the fatty waiter with his stupid PR, team selection and substitutions. wuuueeeeccckk

          • ynwa

            January 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm

            Anand……..go put your shitty nappy back on!

      • ynwa

        January 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm

        And as for your blindness in supporting Hodgson, Roy wouldn’t even get a corps to lie still!. Matey.

  9. Tony Appleton

    January 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Looks like I’ve started all out warfare!

    Not being a Liverpool fan, I completely understand that I am not in the best position to talk about the rights and wrongs that have gone on with the club. That said, I stand by my point that although Hodgson must take a level of responsibility for what has happened this season, the players need to take a long look at themselves and step up to the plate. I think Joe Cole recently spoke publicly in support of Hodgson (of course, he has too) but I’m sure it would be appreciated more if he went and scored 5 goals in the next 3 games, something which he can quite easily do. Same with Torres, Gerrard, and undoubtedly the back 4, who need to improve fast.

    Give Hodgson until the end of January. I reckon with those fixtures I have mentioned, they will be in a better position come Feb. I haven’t even mentioned a key point; is there anyone available better equipped than Hodgson to turn the club around?

    Thanks for your contributions.

    • ynwa

      January 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      Sorry Tony……but how some armchair fans (in their right mind) can still defend Hodgson, is beyond comprehension!!.

  10. SDog

    January 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Tony, good article – but as manager Hodgson has to take responsibility for the poor performances, he is the man in charge.

  11. anand

    January 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    No matter how good a managers come to LFC, if the the club is not prepared to buy quality players like man city and spurs do …then forever we are gonna be a mid table team.

    • YNWA

      January 8, 2011 at 11:36 am

      TO ALL PRO-HODGSON fans here…………………….HE HAS GONE…you know all morons.

  12. anand

    January 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    If the Manchester United players don’t perform, people aren’t going to question Alex Ferguson so therefore they know they have to perform. I believe the team would not dare play as poorly as they are if Roy Hodgson commanded the same authority Sir Alex Ferguson does at Manchester United.

    • red4life

      January 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Anand………your grasp of the english language is amazing.

    • YNWA

      January 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

      TO ALL PRO-HODGSON fans here…………………….HE HAS GONE…you know all,…….. morons.

  13. Dave

    January 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    This is exactly what I’m talking about. You go on a forum and say that Liverpool are a mediocre team at best and you get someone on sayin its all the managers fault. The players are not stepping up to the plate. Watch the interview with kevin keegan on sky sports, it is spot on. You will have to get used to being a mid table also ran team cause thats what you are. No matter who is in charge. The league table dosn’t lie. So deal with it and be in harmony with your chi

    • red4life

      January 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm

      Dave you are showing your football naiveness here. Why isn’t Keegan still in management? I’ll tell you why, cause he is crap (great player mind you) and, crap tends to stick together, no?

  14. Dave

    January 8, 2011 at 1:01 am

    Look I have spent a large portion of my life actually playing the game instead of just commenting on it. So what gives you the right to think you are more knowledgeable about all that is football just because you support Liverpool. This is what I mean about dilluded. When playing against a side with pace you do something called defending the line which means you drop to the edge of the 18 yard area allowing your pacey opponents no room behind in order to manouvre or for the simpletons they run out of pitch when you show them down the line. Then you hit them on the break. A classic example of this was Arsenal versus City the other night. Your mate Hansen was a great exponent of this technique and explains it quite often on MOTD. Liverpool fans think that their team is too good to play like this and Hodgson gets all the shit when he tries to play that way. You get on his case when in fact they don’t have the players to play any other way cause the squad is not good enough. You lambast him from the stands thinking he should be playing more attacking expansive football when your players aren’t good enough. So as you can’t deal with teams with pace cause the fans won’t let the manager play what they perceive as negative football, you keep getting slapped and your supporters keep pointing the finger at the manager like a bunch of guiltess schoolboys after getting caught in the orchard with yer pockets full of apples saying, it was him, it was him that made us do it, pathetic. The biggest mistakes Liverpool made was not giving Hyppia another 2 years and getting rid of Risse one of the best fullbacks to grace the league. You have to thank Benitez for both them decisions as well. You continue to persist with Carragher who although out injured when he is back, he is at best an average defender. He has no pace, hes not tall enough and his postional sense is lacking thats why he always get caught out and someone ends up wearing him like a back pack. The positional sense skill cannot be taught you either have it or you don’t. When he was younger he had the pace to correct his positional errors now he has no pace, well lets just say he will be ineffective. And Lucas well if it were me I’d check his passport cause he aint no Brazillian. So if you want to talk tactics I suggest you learn how to play first. Then you might have been able to explain to me why you are shite instead of just saying things like Keegan is crap, well that explains it all doesn’t it . Your only saving grace is you have one of the best centre forwards in world football and also one of the best centre mids although gerrard is starting to smell the coffee so I hope you can hold on to them both as chelsea need to strenghten the squad so to speak. As I said before bring back benitez maybe he can bankrupt you second time around so until you start to back a manager thats been dealt a shitty hand and face the facts that you have no funds for world class players, enjoy your relegation battle . Bye

    • YNWA

      January 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

      Dave….Funny you should say that, cause I played football for most of my life as well and a good one at that and, through that experiance that I place my analysys. Hodgson has GONE now, so that shows you how good you are at analysing managers, and 98% of supporters are wrong???.

  15. tyler

    January 8, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Royh has done two things for lfc buy cole and beat chelsea which tbh everyone r doin atm n cole has missed a pen got a red card n score a tap in. Wat part of that is good. I live in a town of laret in league two tht managed to beat us, blackpool n wolves neat us at anfield n ONLY 1 win away ao if anyone can find anything good bwt tht thn tell me.

    As for rafa i think he was the manager who bought reina he bought some of the best players the team have seen im torres, alonso and mascherano. He won the champions league with the squad he had in istambul in the situation he was in aswell at HT. Aswell as as FA Cup n nearly gettin our 19th league title.

    Roy could never do wat he did wiv fulham again and even in europe now we shoul of cruised through the group. How many away wins have we managed this season?1
    Roy is not the manager for a team with a squad like liverpool who should be challenging for the title let alone champions league.

    (Please excuse my spelling did this quick on a touch screen phone)

  16. Dave

    January 8, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Title challengers??? please take your medication you are suffering from shit blindness

  17. tyler

    January 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Look at the squad liverpool have we should be one of the favourates to hallange for the title. Best keeper, midfielder n forward in the league i reina, gerrard n torres.

  18. stevie

    January 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    hoorrraaaayyyyy roys gone, now cum on dalglish lets get the team movin in the right direction if any one can do it he can.

  19. Dave

    January 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I have a lot of respect for Dalglish, I also had a lot of respect for Roy Hodgson. He won manager of the year in July so he is no fool. On the other hand Kenny is a great manager. Only trouble is Liverpool should be ashamed giving a man of his age and standing in the game the shits.
    By the way YNWA I will listen to your drivel when you have something to say for now you better finish your homework or you’ll be in detention again. You’ve never played football at any level cept at nursery school. Mid Table mediocrity beckons for the red half of merseyside Bye

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