THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

3 October ~ As one of the most liked and respected managers in English football, Roy Hodgson would probably have expected a little more time to settle in after deservedly taking his seat at the highest profile job of his career. As it is, his Liverpool side welcome Blackpool to Anfield today in dire need of a result, and with less confidence in achieving it than might ever have been anticipated. It wasn't supposed to be this way, of course. Hodgson arrived as the reliable, steady hand to settle things after the turbulent final year of Rafa Benítez's reign.

Yet to assume his arrival would effect an instant improvement in fortunes was to overlook just how damaged Liverpool were by the preceding 12 months. As such, the optimism of a well-fought opening weekend draw against Arsenal has quickly given way to despair, with only the Europa League campaign so far offering any convincing performances.

The manager himself has, uncharacteristically, already begun to show signs of pressure in interviews, and while fans in favour of his appointment are generally still behind him, there are already murmurings of discontent on forums from those who were never convinced in the first place. There's an underlying worry, as unfathomable as it may have seemed upon his appointment, that Hodgson's time at the club may turn out to be more Blackburn than Fulham, and even the media – usually his friends – are starting to question whether he can in fact instigate the renaissance Liverpool need.

There are, at least, a few reasons still to be hopeful. While Joe Cole's Anfield career may never fully kick-start, the rather more impressive Raul Meireles looks well suited to the English game; and although Fernando Torres continues to cut a forlorn figure, it's worth pointing out that even when lacking in form and fitness he's been involved in five out of the side's six league goals so far. The lack of an immediate return on Hodgson's appointment should also be qualified by the precedent of his time at Fulham – where, contrary to the popular view of his recent history, he endured a similarly dire beginning (nine points from 13 games) before steering the club to their most successful season ever.

The problem is that at the higher-stakes table of a club whose fanbase and local media expect regular European football as a bare minimum, he may not be afforded that time. The visit of Blackpool should at least offer some respite – Ian Holloway's side may still be in that purple patch when a newly promoted side can catch those around them off guard, but manager and fans alike could reasonably expect a home win nevertheless. Failure, however, could represent a point from which confidence may never be recovered – and raise the question of whether Hodgson will still be the one given that task. Seb Patrick

Comments (4)
Comment by Dalef65 2010-10-03 15:04:50

Whatever happens on the field this season,(except relegation of course)Hodgson should remain in the job.
Lets not forget the amount of cash Benitez squandered,and some of the dud players that he brought in,thereby rendering ANY succesor"s job,that much more difficult......
The playing staff needs turning around,and this will take probably at least two more transfer windows.
More importantly the question of the ownership saga rumbles on......No manager can expect to work miracles while Hicks and Gillette cant make their minds up......
If the media succeed in impatiently driving Hodgson out of the job,LFC will just get into a worse and worse downward spiral.
Give the man TIME please..........

Comment by iank 2010-10-04 19:38:10

He really isn't qualified to manage LFC.
His signings, Poulsen and Konchesky are utter rubbish, and are getting on a bit too.
Centre-halves upfront, no striker to replace the oft-injured Torres, Gerrard in centre-midfield (Mee's preferred position)
As for Rafa's signings.. Benayoun, Mascherano, Alonso, have left, and Reina, Kuyt, Agger, Skyrtl are still about.
Fair play to Hodgson getting Mereiles in, but the lad really needs playing in his preferred position (Mee's.. no chance then)
Oh, and drop the other favoured local from the defence.

The poster above is obviously UTD or a bluenose.

Comment by Dalef65 2010-10-05 16:26:30

No sorry iank
I cant claim to be a UTD fan nor a bluenose.....
Liverpool arent really my first choice team either im afraid....

I simply cant stand the way media/impatient fans want to drive managers out after 6(yes six...!!!)games.....

If Hodgson goes now,then what....?
Another manager in who wants his own players,more upheaval and less progress.....?

I accept that Hodgson hasnt pulled up any trees so far,but this season has got to be seen as one of transition for Liverpool.

I notice that you fail to address the amount of cash that Benitez squandered,nor the ownership issue...These are the real factors at play here.Nothing can be done,nor can LFC go anywhere till the owners decide what they are going to do.....

But as I said,not really my club at the end of the day...

Comment by iank 2010-10-05 18:16:40

With regards to cash wasted, Rafa did receive a fair bit taking LFC to two consecutive CL finals (60m) plus lots of other lucrative CL runs. It was his money, and speaking as a fan, I had an enjoyable period until last season following LFC.
This really is a transition season, but it should've been so under the stewardship of somebody better than RH, who seems to have been given the job because of his friendly nature, and that he's English.
Oh well, best give him a chance, eh..

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