Clock ticking on Hodgson as he bids to save Liverpool’s season

By Michael Owen
roy hodgson
(Photo: Mikhail Slain)

roy hodgson

The news that Roy Hodgson would be Liverpool’s new manager was met by indifference amongst the club’s supporters.

The veteran coach had done well at Fulham, taking the West London minnows to the final of the Europa League not long after they had been tipped as relegation candidates.

Yet at the same time Hodgson lacked the sort of experience normally required of a Liverpool manager. He had yet to win a major European trophy and spent the majority of his career, apart from spells at Inter Milan and Blackburn, at relatively small clubs.

Liverpool’s board, however, favoured him over the other candidates. He had just won a manager of the year award for his work with Fulham and was someone who the British media -who had a less-than-perfect relationship with previous manager Rafael Benítez -seemed to like.

Now, after eight league games and fifteen in all competitions, the indifference amongst supporters over Hodgson’s appointment has all but disappeared. He is not a Liverpool manager, and the club’s position in the league table does nothing but emphasise why he is not cut out for the job.

Liverpool have won just one of their opening eight league games -against newly-promoted West Brom -and can only really boast to having put in a decent performance in one of those matches – in their clash with Arsenal on the opening day of the season.

Liverpool, a club that exists to win trophies, were knocked out of the League Cup at the hands of League Two minnows Northampton Town on penalties – a game the lower league opposition thoroughly deserved to win.

And if the results were bad, the performances have been worse. The formations are negative; the Reds invite pressure, with the hope of breaking forward on the counter-attack. But it gives the opposition too much time and space in and around the box.

Going forward, Liverpool lack creativity and pace. Fernando Torres is often left isolated up front with little or no support, with only Steven Gerrard daring to shirk his defensive duties in favour of pushing forward and trying to connect with the Spain striker.

Joe Cole, who agreed to join Liverpool believing he would feature more in a central role, finds himself out on the left and having made very little impact in any of the games he has featured in other than when he has made the effort to cut inside.

Yet Hodgson has staunchly defended his tactics, claiming that they have served him well across Europe throughout his 35-year career.

The problem is that these tactics are not working at Anfield, and seemingly nor are his motivational skills. When talking to the press Hodgson has constantly oversold inferior sides that have had the better of Liverpool, even before the game with Northampton at Anfield Hodgson was quick to point out how “formidable” the visitors were.

After a disappointing result at Goodison Park on Sunday, in which Liverpool looked to have no fight, spirit or organisation, Hodgson hailed it as one of the best performances his side had put in since he arrived on Merseyside. “I watched the performance and the second half was as good as I saw a Liverpool team play under my management that is for sure,” he said.

With every defence of himself and the team after a poor performance he further isolates himself from the supporters who make Liverpool Football Club what it is.

This Liverpool squad lacks belief. It is not motivated and it is not organised. The manager clearly cannot shoulder all of the blame but Hodgson must understand he has to be willing to change his ways, otherwise his time at Anfield could come to an abrupt and disappointing end.

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