Roy Hodgson: How to Lose Games and Alienate People


Roy Hodgson after signing for Liverpool

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Liverpool Football Club doesn’t sack managers. Well not very often anyway. The fans at Anfield are normally pretty loyal and it is because of this loyalty that the current climate surrounding the club feels so peculiar. There is an uncomfortable atmosphere surrounding all things Liverpool this Christmas. Even in the darkest days of the post-operation Houllier reign, fans never universally called for his head. After two dire seasons it was clear his time was up and it was obvious that the club had stopped progressing and instead was heading painfully backwards. It still wasn’t nice seeing him go. Even last season, whilst there was a share of Andy Gray worshipers venting their anger on 606, there was a considerable section of the fan base still 100% behind Rafa Benitez. These managers had their places in Liverpool fans’ hearts and minds and when they parted, it was with a sense of regret. However, when Roy Hodgson clears his desk at Melwood there won’t be that feeling. It is sad to admit it, but we all liked Roy more when he wasn’t our manager.

There’s something about Roy that seems to suggest he doesn’t quite get Liverpool football club. To ensure he got off on the right foot, in one of his first press conferences as Liverpool manager he spoke of his great friendship with Alex Ferguson. He then called League Two strugglers Northampton “formidable” opponents and before the Spurs game he spoke of how we had to accept “ it could be two defeats in nine”. Least appealing of all, after the dreadful Merseyside derby hoof fest he smiled at the full time whistle before praising our abject performance. It was hardly inspirational. His whole demeanour is as far removed from Shankly as Poulsen is from Souness. Instead it was mid-table talk from a mid-table manager. Say what you like about the timing of Rafael Benitez’s supposed “rant” but it was something that struck a chord with Liverpool fans. It had passion, it had belief, it had balls. Whilst this season Hodgson dismissed the fans anti-Hicks protests as unhelpful, Rafa boasted of how he “went to war together with my fans”. When Hodgson played the blame game by criticising Rafa’s legacy, for many fans it only went to show how he wasn’t one of us. The Englishman just somehow didn’t get the culture of the club like the Frenchman or the Spaniard before him.

Of course, in the fickle world of football all this would probably be forgotten if the results were good enough. But they weren’t and still aren’t. A home defeat to newly promoted Blackpool is probably the headline grabbing league defeat of the year, but in reality it is away from Anfield that has proved most worrying. Just one away victory so far this season means that in six seasons of top-flight English football, Hodgson has only thirteen away victories out of 84 away games. The performances match the results as well. A miserable 36% possession away at Stoke in one of the most limp league performances of recent times tells its own story. On that day Liverpool lost because they foolishly tried to battle and “out-Stoke” Stoke rather than utilise what is an undoubtedly technically gifted team.

In Sky’s analysis of the Villa game, Keys and Gray outdid themselves by managing to make the bizarre claim that Rafa left behind a worse squad of players than he inherited. This was their excuse for why Hodgson hadn’t worked so far. That is argument that needs little examination to be exposed as rubbish. The squad Benitez inherited included- surely the worst left back to ever own a European Cup winners medal- Djimi Traore as a starter. The squad inherited by Hodgson contained Reina, Mascherano, Gerrard and Torres; all of whom could put forward a good case for being the best in their position in the world. Meanwhile it contained internationals such as Johnson, Aquilani, Skrtel, Kuyt, Jovanovic, Maxi and the star of this season Lucas who has finally began to win over the critics that he definitely did not deserve (have a read of U90′s opinion of Lucas).

Should Agger now start for the Reds?

It had some great potential too with the highly-rated youngsters Ngog, Insua, Kelly, Suso and Pacheco waiting in the wings for first team opportunities. Roy also has the fan favourite and extremely gifted centre back Daniel Agger who has inexplicably been ignored for selection when fit, seemingly because of preference to play football at the back than just get rid. Instead Carragher was recently gifted a contract extension that will see him stay past the day he is of remotely any use at all. This day is rapidly approaching yet Jamie continues to remain a steadfast first choice. A shadow of two seasons ago, his form and long ball style seem to sadly epitomise everything that Hodgson has enforced on the team. The inability of Roy to drop Carragher highlights the lack of necessary courage and conviction that, love or loathe, his predecessor had in abundance. Ultimately, the squad he inherited had thirteen players at the World Cup and Liverpool’s current weak links are Poulsen and Konchesky. Both of these are his own signings and so far only Meireles out of the summer recruits has proved successful. However, Roy still wasted him on the right of midfield for much of his tenure.

I backed Hodgson at the start and until mid-October despite increasing doubts about our style of play, I publicly defended the bloke. However, something about him doesn’t sit right. His press conferences, his tactics and his results just don’t fit the bill; Roy Hodgson just doesn’t seem like a Liverpool manager. Increasingly he has lost the faith of fans, to the point where even the most sympathetic of supporters couldn’t genuinely claim to believe he is the right man.

Admittedly he took over during a period of great turmoil for the club, and it was always going to be tough for him when considering the popularity of his predecessor amongst the faithful. However, Roy himself said “judge me after ten games” and in that he had won just three. A further seven games on and not much has changed and more worryingly even less looks like changing. Whilst it is unlikely he will be shamefully hounded out at Anfield like other clubs annually seem to do to their manager, it is safe to say the unrest amongst fans is at best palpable. Approaching the mid-point of the season with a negative goal difference and more losses than victories would never have been acceptable under Rafa and nor should it be acceptable under Roy. With no disrespect to Fulham intended, it seems like Roy hasn’t realised he has left Craven Cottage and that now his objectives must be immensely higher than mid-table mediocrity and the odd cup run. Whilst I sincerely hope he proves me wrong it seems a safer bet that the now infamous face-rubbing gesture seen in the Newcastle game will be the enduring image of a short and frustrating stay.

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About alexdavis90
I'm a twenty year old life-long Liverpool supporter currently studying History at Reading University. Attempt to play football from time to time either as a lumbering striker or a mediocre centre back. You can follow me for ramblings on Twitter for any ramblings: @AlexDavis90

65 Responses to Roy Hodgson: How to Lose Games and Alienate People

  1. Glyn says:

    Another good article from this chap

  2. Ali says:

    Being a young liverpool supporter is tough. The closest i’ve ever come to tasting league glory is in 08/09. I genuinely thought we had finally taken that huge step from being 3rd/2nd to 1st place. What a beautiful sight that was seeing my team at the top of the league ahead of chelsea, man utd and arsenal- I’ll always cherish that memory. I just wish that could happen again.

    • rajiv says:

      You could be top of the Championship in a couple of seasons. :)

      • d says:

        nob

  3. Good article, I have to say that the Liverpool which came to Newcastle last Sunday put up the worst performance I have ever seen from a Liverpool side in my 30 years of watching Newcastle.
    Newcastle weren’t great but LFC were terrible, they seemed to be lacking cohesion, shape and any kind of idea of how to attack. Hodgson has succeeded in the past by setting up teams to play against better opposition and really seems to be struggling when he is the one who has the expectation to make the running.

    • bahn maxwell says:

      With the way Roy has us playing it’s no surprise to see us in mid-table.

  4. bahn maxwell says:

    Ah, Agger… haven’t seen him in a while. Hopefully he’ll be around longer than Hodgson.

  5. alexdavis90 says:

    Completely agree Craig. Hodgson is suited wonderfully to the role of underdog i.e. against Chelsea, but is clueless and devoid of ideas when he himself is expected to win. Wish I’d put that point in my article to be fair.

    Anyway, if you enjoyed this article check out my other one about a man having a far better season than Roy.

    http://upper90magazine.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/love-is-in-the-air…-lucas-leiva…/

  6. purify says:

    Lucas is garbage. WTF are you talking about? He’s a big reason why we are mid-table. The guy regularly loafs around out of position, then is so slow covering that some poor center back has to come up out of position to meet the ball carrier and takes the blame for the goal.

    No way Lucas is good enough for Liverpool, not even close. We’ve done nothing but decline since he started playing regularly last year and that’s no coincidence. Did a fine job of closing down Carroll at the end of the Newcastle game, didn’t he? Rubbish.

    • Ian says:

      Lucas has left such a bad taste in the mouths of supporters from his performances over the past 3 years. His mantra is one of consistently giving the ball away and he is almost guaranteed to make stupid tackles in the last 10 minutes which result in a card and losing possession. In a few games this season he has looked like a better unit, but as was witnessed with the recent Wolves debacle, he hasn’t really changed much. It will take a whole season of solid performances to get back onside with Liverpool fans. My advice to Lucas would be to start with the basics – such as passing to Liverpool players (red shirts at home, white/black away) and avoid chopping at opponents legs when we need the ball back.

      • alexdavis90 says:

        I’d disagree that he has left a bad taste in the mouths of supporters. Look at the various threads on him on Liverpool fan sites (Redandwhitekop.com is a good example as the largest). He is very well recieved on there. When you say it will take a whole season of performances, what about last year? Thrust in more than he should have been due to injuries, a young midfielder put in a strong season especially as others struggled (such as Masch before Argentina finally qualified).

        I agree his tackling used to be at times costly, but then what young midfielders haven’t been like that? Remember how Gerrard used to tackle when he first started out? As for giving posession and your patronising comment about passing to red shirts, I’m not quite sure what you’re on about. His passing stats have always been very good and his success rate was higher than Alonso’s for considerable periods whilst he was here. Whilst early in his tenure it ciuld be argued that his passing was not very creative, which would have been harsh, it has improved. He has always been good at keeping posession, arguments were more about what he did with it. If you watch various videos (such as the ones I’ve posted) you can see how this has improved.

        As for purify’s comments about the Andy Carrol goal, that wasn’t his finest moment (although the game was more or less over) but you’ve got to remember the only reason he was that deep was because he was covering at centreback (?!) because Hodgson in a moment of desparation had sent Kygriakos forward.

        Alex

      • Ian says:

        Alex, you have created a blog. blogs are usually places where people can voice opinions. To shout down anyone with whom you disagree isn’t making your blog more popular – which is presumably what you wanted.
        Lucas was targeted by critics for a reason. In his previous seasons at the club he has been the one who was singled out for criticism – and that was because he was the only one consistently handing possession to the opposition on a plate. Were all those critics wrong? The one thing that’s different about Lucas re:10-11 is that he’s not the only one playing like a turkey so he doesn’t stand out quite as much.
        He has had some better performances this season. I agree with the Chelsea performance comments. He needs more Chelsea days and fewer Wolves days. Then we can say he’s a good asset for the club.

      • alexdavis90 says:

        I’m not shouting your opinion down at all, In fact I thought I responded to it in a reasonable manner. I merely take your points one at a time and put forward valid counter argument. You’re right this is a blog but I feel that I have the right to respond myself to points which are raised and believe in fact i should, not replying would be far ruder in my opinion.

        The blog and article has been very popular so far and I’m trying to create a level of debate which appears to be working. I merely presented some opinions that showed that facts proved he wasn’t giving the ball to the opposition “on a plate”. The fact his passing stats have always been good suggests this wasn’t the case as much as maybe we all thought. I don’t believe he played like a turley in this or previous seasons and read mmy other blog (about Lucas) which you can find links for on this page for more on why i see this. I feel he was, in the fickle world that is football, a scapegoat. The young player that whilst not a star was a talent who, much like Darren Fletcher did at United, recieved over the top criticism for his performances. Indeed as Rory Smith mentions in this fine article it cpuld be argued that his performances have been good for around twelve months or so.

        Thanks

        Alex

    • alexdavis90 says:

      Ooops! sorry Ian I forgot the article!

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/liverpool/8220500/Lucas-Leiva-is-one-of-the-few-shining-lights-in-Liverpools-dark-year.html

      Alex

  7. alexdavis90 says:

    That’s definitely not true
    What has put us midtable is that our defence has played so deeap our midfield has come deeper
    Lucas is nowhere near a problem. He’s been our saving grace this season. Even the pundits have recognised that now.

    Alex

  8. alexdavis90 says:

    Anyone doubting Lucas’ performance should see this compilation of al his action against Chelsea.
    Shows his involvement is so key. A joy to watch for a football man imo.

  9. Pete says:

    So Alex, your a fan of the Leiva then!

    As a supporter for over 40 years, a season ticket holder and someone who still manages to go to over 15 away games per season, I must say that Leiva IS a big part of our current problem. (as he was last season, being used as a main player in our team, for the first time).

    Can you please let us all know what his strengths actually are? What does he bring that we can do without?

    For me he’s too slow and slows our play down. He isn’t a tackler (unless giving away lots of free kicks counts?), and never will be, so no defensive holding mid fielder. He will never get us more than 5 goals a season (that’s being kind to him), and is not an attacking mid fielder, yes he wanders forward but then does nothing of note! He can’t head a ball, he can’t cross a ball, his shots are generally aimless and are few and far between, he drops so deep that he gets in the way of his central defenders. (I’ve seen our centre halves scream at him to get out of the way). He is the nearest thing we have to a zonal central mid fielder as he just marks space. He is a liability in our own half and especially anywhere near our penalty area. He’ll never turn a game for us when we’re away from home either looking for an equaliser or a winner.

    And my biggest critcism of this player is that he is nothing more than a passenger!

    We will never be the great team that we were with this player in the heart of our team!

    It shows exactly how bad the rest of our other players are playing when this guy is supposedly one of our better performers. ABSOLUTE RUBBISH!

    Pete

  10. alexdavis90 says:

    Hi Pete
    His strengths are ones that have been picked up on by many top coaches as shown by his positions in the current club and international set-ups.
    He isn’t particularly slow at all and makes a lot of tackles- watch the video above and read my article on Lucas to see the stats that prove this. His passing percentage rates are also extremely high. For a young midfield player he is an extremely gifted player on the ball. i think and this is a view shared with many other matchgoing fans is one we must keep hold of. He is very highly rated in the game and the new contract NESV and Comolli are presenting him with proves this.

    The reason he drops deep is not his fault. In fact it highlights what is our major problem- our defence. When Agger does not play, which through injuries and Roy’s preferences he does not, we have little or nobody breaking out of defence and creating opprtunities like the other top teams do. Carragher screams at Lucas because he comes to get the ball when Carragher is in fact preferring to punt aimless longballs 30 yards upfield. As much as he has been a great servant of this club, when you put the sentimentality aside, Carragher is the one of our biggest on field problems. A shadow of his former self he no longer has the legs to make up for his lack of tactical ability. It is a different story altogether but using the “Lucas drops too deep” and “defenders scream at him” is ignoring that it is a poor defence, including Carragher, causing these supposed weaknesses.

    As for games away from home, look at earlier in his career at Old Trafford (4-1) and Newcastle (5-1) with some great performances. As for not changing a game when we’re not looking for a winner what about Bolton earlier this season? A fairly straightforward example that popped into my head straight away. He picks up the ball and plays the pass that creates the opportunity for the goal.

    He definitely is not one of our bigger problems. He is has suffered from unwarranted criticism from fans looking for a scapegoat early in his career here. Start watching him again, starting with a clean slate and honestly come back and tell me he’s one of our problems. People have a negative view because they watched a young box-to-box midfielder fill in as a holding midfielder when he started out. Watch this to prove he is not slow and when utilised effectively has the abilty to be a cracking player. An important goal last season in the second leg against Benfica.

    Alex

  11. alexdavis90 says:

    Correction: When I said Carragher’s tactical ability, I in fact meant technical abilty!

  12. Pete says:

    Your wrong, and as I said earlier Leiva is nothing more than a passenger. End of!

    Stop watching our games on the tv and focusing in on the stats.
    You could also do your little clips promo’s on any player in the team and make them look good! It counts for nothing!

    Have you actually had a look at where we are in the league and how poor a team we really are of late?
    I would argue that our down-turn coincides with Leiva becoming more of a focal point in the team, and him playing in the majority of the games last season and now during this one!

    Go watch the games live and see exactly how this player you rate so highly operates throughout the whole of the 90 minutes!

    And exactly how many goals a season are you expecting from this cracking box to box player of yours?

    When Hodgson, or whoever else we get, in realises that our central midfield duo should be Gerrard and Meireles, (or Gerrard and another), we may then get a bit of form back and start playing the Liverpool way again! Until then, we are mid table fodder and nothing more than an average team with average players, (most definitely including Leiva).

    Pete

  13. Tranmere FC says:

    Pete I completely disagree with your comments about Leiva! I think the problems Liverpool are encountering lie much further than with Leiva.

    The side (despite relative success in the Champions league) has always played boring football but has been saved by Torres and Gerrard and maybe the Anfield atmosphere! With Gerrard injured every two weeks and Torres lacking form, you are screwed. The wide players are particularly poor when compared to any of the other top teams and to me Konchesky and Johnson (who is the most over-rated player in the prem) are absolutely useless at full backs.

    There is absolutely no strength in depth and to be honest apart from Reina, Torres and Gerrard the rest of your team would struggle to make the Man City and Tottenham sides, let alone the top 3! With maybe another exception…Lucas

    He is playing consistantly for Brazil…yes Brazil and I would say that he is the ownly player in the current Liverpool side that could fit in to a footballing team! By this I mean a Barcelona or Arsenal.

    Maybe Liverpool’s problem isn’t Lucas Leiva maybe Lucas Leiva’s problem is Liverpool…they play crap hit and run football if you can even call it football!

    Placing Gerrard in a centre midfield role with some one like Meireles (as you suggest) would be a complete step backwards for you….hit and run…hit and run…hit and run zzzzzzzzzzzz…. leading to more years of boring Liverpool. Set up like Arsenal or Barcelona…play 3 in the middle with wide players who can hold the ball (not knock it down the wing and try to run on to it…) and then you may just progress…

    Is Hodgson the man to do this?…no!

    • Albert says:

      To the poster who said we should play more like Barcelona/Arsenal (4-3-3), I say bravo. It fact, I would play (and some may want to choke me for this), Gerrard, Meireles and Lucas in the middle, with SG in the Iniesta role, Meireles in the Xavi role and Lucas in the Busquets role, have Ngog on the left, Babel/Johnson on the right and Torres as the central striker. And instruct them to hold on the ball and move, a lot. And teach them how to hold on to the balle, and play closer to the front 3 rather than the back three. And teach them patience on the ball too. We have the personnel, Roy doesn’t seem to be bothered to learn how best to use his players. Best thing about this setup is the fluidity. You can revert to 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 in the game requires it, e.g. Ngog and Babel play deeper to make the system a 4-5-1, or Gerrard moves closer to Torres to make it a 4-4-1-1, with the winger more in line with the midfield, or Ngog become a second striker and Gerrard plays on the left. But for crying out loud, don’t play your best central midfielder (Meireles, not Gerrard) on the bloody wings.

  14. alexdavis90 says:

    Pete

    Firstly, well done on obtaining a season ticket. Conrgatulations. As for ‘go watch a game live’? I will tell you mate I do. As a student I don’t have a lot of money, not as much as you for sure, but every holiday, and everytime I can I make that journey to Anfield I watch the game. And sorry if I only watch it on TV occasionally, but I still see what’s happening and can make as good a judgment as you from the camera angles Im sure. I’m not some part time fan i can assure you that.

    As for ignoring stats and video clips… what would you like me to do? Base it purely upon opinions rather than fact like yourself? As for ‘the Liverpool way’, Shankly said that was pass and move. That is exactly the kind of player Lucas is.

    The downturn in the team has very little to do with what you believe if you do indeed believe it is Lucas. A lack of investment, the sacking of Rafa, delcline of older players and the sale of key players is far more important. In fact I’d say your analysis is categoricallt flawed. As for our best CM being Gerrard and Raul- Stevie G’s best position has never been an out and out CM, he’s not diciplined enough. His best seasons have been in “the hole” or on the right wing. So you are wrong there yet again.

    “Tranmere FC” above is right. He might not watch as many games as you in the flesh, but he still sees the major problems- and they sure as hell aren’t Lucas.

    You are in a minority and look at:

    http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=267978.0

    http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php?topic=253700.0

    These are a huge amount of Liverpool fans who go to a variety of games. Most of them agrees he’s not a problem at all. And the second of those links shows it is not a new thing.

    Alex

  15. gmankane says:

    pete I stopped reading after you claimed lucas is a passanger twice. The simple fact of the matter is he touches the ball more then any other player on the team with regularity, and the standards you apply to center midfielders, are archaic. There are very few players who shoot from 30 yards, are quick, huge, good tactial knowledge, technique etc. Instead, a wattercarrier, a la Lucas, does his job getting the ball from point a to point b very effectively, works hard defensively, keeps the ball, and is very consistent. Every good team has one in modern football; Busquets, Carrick, Essien/Obi Mikel, Diaby etc..

  16. Matthew J Gunn says:

    Hi Alex,
    Came across your article here via Mcnulty’s bbc write up on ‘Woy’ today and gave it a read. As a life long Liverpool supporter now in my mid ’30s i just wanted to say your article here really hit home – well written, concise and obviously someone who knows there football – well done mate. My personal thoughts are that ‘Woy’ is out of his depth at clubs with high expectations, as proved when managed Blackburn and Inter previously. Criticising the fans after the Wolves game just makes me think he really is in the death throes of his reign and he knows it himself, its quite sad to see someone whom allot of football fans once considered with dignity act in such a blameful manner of all but his own mistakes. I’ve never been one to call for the managers head at our club this early but its obvious he has to go – i certainly wouldnt trust him with any Jan transfer kitty, he looks like his lost the players and the truth is he wasnt NESV’s man, its the worst kept secret in football that he is going to be let go regardless end of season – so i really believe it needs to be now otherwise i do honestly fear a bottom half finish and dare i say it with the prem being so tight this season – in danger of relegation battle if we cant beat Wolves at home. Watching that match live it was truly shocking, worse than anything i ever witnsessed under Sousness and that was bad. Its obvious us the fans have no faith in him, the players seem to have no faith in him, the board by bringing in Comelli have no faith in him, he’s a dead man walking – i keep hoping he’ll do the honourable thing and resign, hold his hands up and say ‘i wasnt good enough for this job’ like Keegan did when he resigned from England, but what ive come to realise that ‘Woy’ isn’t maybe the nice honourable bloke we all thought he originally was – his rantings last night proved that, never turn on your own fans, crazy! The answer for me is to place King Kenny in charge for the rest of the season – he’ll keep us up at the very least as the players respect him, its obvious they dont ‘Woy’, and he may even be able to convince certain ‘stars’ to give us one more season. Then in the summer with Kenny’s help go all out for the manager NESV believe can be long-term and achieve these goals over a 5year period to build us up to not just Top4 once more but title challengers. Its achieveable – just look at the 18month turn around ‘Arry has done at Spurs and the football they play. The next manager will shape Liverpool for years to come.

    • alexdavis90 says:

      Thanks for the comment and I agree with almost everything you say.
      We’ll have to see what the next week or two brings I guess.
      Alex

  17. Robert Grant says:

    Excellent article, well thought through and nicely considered, I’d be interested to know who you think the best candidate for the job would be though. Maybe a follow-up article on the possible candidates would be worth doing?

    • alexdavis90 says:

      Thanks for the comment. There are a few candidates I have in mind. Varying from the almost impossible to get such as Hiddink to those that could be considered brave gambles like Coyle. However I’d quite like to see Deschamps or Pellegrini. it’s definitely a shame Villa Boas has committed himself to Porto. Kenny could do a short-term job as well I’m sure.

      I’ll definitely do a follow up article on the candidates if Roy departs but until then I’ll leave it. Think it is slightly unfair until that point to do a proper article on it and also it won’t be fully clear who is realistic until a vacancy opens up.

      Alex

  18. Matt says:

    Reina has a case for best goalie in the world? To aptly paraphrase John Lennon, he’s not even the second best goalie in Spain

    • alexdavis90 says:

      Some argue he is the best Spanish keeper. Casillias has had an indifferent year whilst last season Reina was widely regarded as the best in the Premier League. Whilst in the 5 years he’s been here he’s kept the most clean sheets in 4 out of 5 of those seasons (level with Cech last year).

      Whether you regard him as the best or not is your opinion but his performances in general in the past few seasons means he definitely has a good case to argue.

      Alex

  19. Alex says:

    Personally I don’t believe we should reinstate Kenny Dalglish. I think we should straight away look for the long term in finding a manager. That way they have half a season to really get their style and tactics across to the players, so when next season comes around the players are already used to the new manager’s style of play and don’t lose valuable points and momentum in the early stages of next season while going through the inevitable settling into new strategy phase. Ideally, I would like to see the club instate a coach with good attacking philosophy and who likes to play attractive football. Possible ideas include:

    Frank Rijkaard – currently unemployed following his leaving Galatasaray, has experience with big clubs – won the UCL with Barca in 2005-06, plus La Liga 04-05/05-06. If the media are to be believed, he is the most likely candidate to step in if Woy leaves. However, lack of experience other than at Barcelona where he was already a legend mean he is not the perfect signing.

    Louis Van Gaal – according Jan Molby he would “walk to Anfield to take the Liverpool job”. Why I don’t know; he has a great job at Bayern Munich, who he took to the UCL final last season. All the same, I’m not one to argue with a good thing, and it would be great to have him as a coach – although his outspokenness towards the media means he would most likely be mistreated by British tabloids the same way Rafa was. Overall I don’t really think he would come.

    Martin O’neill – personally would be a long way from being my first choice. Boring long ball and counter attack tactics at home means he would not go down well with the Kop. Basically just a younger, more able. more sane Hodgson with slightly better idea of what constitutes a good result.

    Guus Hiddink – as with Van Gaal, would be amazing to have, but despite more than the odd link in the media I remain fairly certain that he would not come to Liverpool.

    Sam Allardyce – Definitely not unless we are in serious danger of relegation come March/April. In which case I suppose that given his track record of keeping clubs up, I for one would put up with his football – which although more successful, in terms of attractiveness makes Hodgson’s Liverpool at the moment look like Barcelona – for a short time while he spared Liverpool the humiliation of being relegated just two seasons after finishing second.

  20. alexdavis90 says:

    Van Gaal and Hiddink would both be great choices. Either would be an incredible coup for the club. O’Neil would not be the right choice, his spell at Villa his very overrated in my opinion, the brilliant Marcotti sums him up nicely in this article for The Times. Be warned the copy I’ve found online is from an Everton site: (http://www.sos1878.co.uk/forum/topic/2501-marcotti-sees-oneill-for-what-he-is/). Sam Allardyce is a massive no I agree. His football his horrible and his arrogance and personality will not please the fanbase I’m sure.

    I think we’ll have to wait and see who it’ll be if Roy is sacked. At the end of the day only John Henry really knows how long Roy has got to turn things around

    Alex

    • Matthew J Gunn says:

      If it is to be believed that Henry’s and Comelli’s plan for liverpool is to buy decent young players with great potential who can then be moulded into world class talents with high sell on values, then for me its got to be Van Gaal for the job (also if believed he would walk to Anfield as the legend Mobly said). Its exactly what he did at Ajax and then in his first spell at Barcelona, and as proved by Wegner and as much as i hate to admit it ‘old whiskey breath’ at united – structuring your club this way can work in the premiership despite its highly comeptitive nature – just needs the right manager. Van Gaal has done it this route twice before so for me he should get it hands down. Cant see him leaving Munich mid-season but i think end of season we could get him easily – Munich are struggling this season and do have a high turn-over with managers over short 2-3year periods. That of course leaves us with the question – do we dare to leave ‘Woy’ in charge until end of season – as its obvious now probably to Henry and all at NESV themselves that is becoming a high risk strategy. Next few games are going to be interesting for sure.

      • alexdavis90 says:

        We started a structure of youth under Benitez. Look at players like Suso and Pacheco for evidence. Van Gaal could carry this on but I’m sure so could others. I’m not sure this is Roy’s preferred strategy though… I think ROy is a dead man walking and when a new CEO is in charge will get the boot.

        Alex

  21. Moez says:

    Alex i would like to congratulate on an excillent article. As all other liverpool fans here it hurts to see our beloved club in a situation like this. They are not playing the football as they once used to play.My only suggestion is that i believe Rafa should be reinstated immediately. Let me explain why:

    As you said your self earlier Their are really no suitable REALISTIC replacement out there. We need to hold on to our star players on the short term basis and build a better team from there. Reina, Torres and Gerrard have always shared a close relationship with Rafa so for him to come back, would really go a long way in securing and motivating our star players to perform.The second reason for him to come back is we need immediate results for us to at least try to salvage something from this season and worse case scenerio avoid relegation. Rafa does not need any time inorder to get his methods across as he knows most of the squad, and has good experience in premier league. I still believe it is highly unfair to blame Rafa for the mess that we are in. If Rafa was given the proper support from those two dirt bag americans we would not have been in this crisis as we are today. Rafa is part of our history and legacy and has loyalty towards this club for its history and for its fan. We should all try to remember 07-08 season when we almost won the premier league and played some really entertaining football including a double our united and chelsey and a 4-1 victory our Real Madrid.

    What Liverpool needs is Rafa to come back home and give him a chance and financial support to redeem himself. This is in my opinion the best option available. I would like to know what all you readers think about this option?

    YWNA

    • alexdavis90 says:

      I’m a big Rafa fan and believe last year was a blip which we did not give him the chance to correct. I was against his sacking. However, I believe there are pros and cins to bringing him back immediately and it would split the fanbase (wrongly I think).

      However from a personal point of view I think he’s a good option. A lot of it is his squad, his youngsters, he knows the players, knows the club etc and with the right backing could hit the ground running. I’d welcome him back but I have my doubts as NESV/FSG may want to appoint someone new- their own man so to speak.

      Alex

  22. Andrew says:

    Great article. I always thought that Mr. Hodgson’s appointment was a rum one for Liverpool. I think they had a big opportunity after Benitez to get a manager with more flare and ambition. Unfortunately, the Liverpool job is a poisoned chalice now like the England or Newcastle job. Midtable, no real promise of money and with an internal infrastructure not to everybody’s liking I just cannot see a ‘big hitter’ going there which does not look good for Liverpool for the forseeable future.
    YNWA

    • alexdavis90 says:

      I think the new long-term strategy and ambition of the club will be identified by the next manager we appoint or if Roy stays the money he is presented with in the summer.

      Alex

  23. Richard says:

    Whilst I agree that Hodgson hasn’t done the best of jobs the un-escapable fact is that he has had to pick up the pieces left by whoever you want to blame from the previous management. Benitez wasted a lot of money on poor (foreign) young players who now make up the fringe elements of the squad, and correct me of i’m wrong, but these players now mean that unless they’re shipped out don’t you have to look for HG players, (expensive for a start, and then where do you get a good one!).

    Secondly – the players, Gerrard has been and will be a Liverpool legend, but the reliance on his goals rather than his midfield play are your problem, if Gerrard and Torres dont score, there aren’t many others, Ngog maybe? Then theres the injuries to the two afore mentioned players, Torres simply isn’t fit enough of the time – maybe get in Bellamy’s Norwegian fitness guru! But aside from those two, and Reina, lets be honest, that is not even a decent squad. Johnson – poor defender, Skrtel – Poor mans Vidic, Carragher – is over the hill and half way across the Pennines, Konchesky- LOL, Meireles – average, Lucas – average, Ngog and Babel – too young to be permanently relied upon, Maxi- Waste of money, how many Argies actually do well in the Prem, only those owned by Joorabachin it seems. After that your struggling to think of experienced players. Poulsen is a hangover from Juve’s mediocre days – they must have been glad to be rid of him. As for Aggers fans – how many games a season will you get from that man.

    Rant over – Liverpool need massive investment, which they won’t get in one go, and maybe Roy isn;t the right man, but who is?

    As a Utd (season ticket) fan, I feel sorry for Roy, but it is funny watching you lot jumping up and down on his back due to the s***e he was left with.

    • alexdavis90 says:

      Is the squad really as bad as you made out? Rafa apparently got sacked for underachieving with more or less the same squad last season and he came 7th. Torres has been fit for almost the whole of this season yet as been utilised terribly. Meireles and Lucas have been fine and are good players, our best so far this season although Hodgson let Aquilani go who is has been superb this eason for Juventus now he is fit. As for Maxi being a waste of money, he’s the only reason we have an away win this season and was a free transfer so that is an odd comment to make.

      This squad may not be title winning but 8 of the players from Wednesday night played in 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid (the same week we beat you 4-1 away). Against Blackpool (which we lost) every single outfield player had playing time at the World Cup. This team is definitely one good enough to be a lot further up the table than we are, it is a squad that is more than three points better than relegation. It’s a bit of a media myth that this is an awful squad, the one Rafa started with was far worse in 2004 and that achieved far better things under a far better manager.

      Alex

  24. Shaun says:

    Just seen your link on the Phil ‘Nutty’ blog.

    Very good article indeed. Hit the nail on the head.

    Pete. Lucas is not the problem and will never be

    • alexdavis90 says:

      Thanks, I agree those who have watched Lucas this season could not possibly identify him as the problem!

      Alex

  25. Dan Holland says:

    Great article Alex.
    I have to say though to the above poster (Moez) calling for Rafa’s reinstatement- I could not disagree with you more.
    Last season we played some shocking football and lost, in total, 19 games. If you take into account our Europa League run, this means most of these losses were domestic. Admittedly, our football this season has been shocking too and whether Hodgson was the right man for the job at the time I don’t know- he certainly isn’t looking like he is the right man. But the time was right for Rafa to go I’m sorry. Yes he’d given us some glorious days and those memories will live with me and inspire me forever but it was time. Just like it was time for Houllier to go. I think people forget that Houllier did some great things for the club- he won more silverware that Rafa and also achieved a second-place one season (where we finished ABOVE the Mancs!). But like I say he had his time and it was appropriate for him to leave. Same with Rafa- did some great things but the time was right.

    Now I don’t want anyone to jump on my back and say that I’m a ‘Houllier-ite’ or an ‘Anti-Rafa-ite’ or a ‘Hodgson-ite’. I say this because I was at the Wolves game with my uncle and my dad and my uncle got into a ‘discussion’ with the bloke behind us, who disagreed with my uncles viewpoint (very similar to mine) and then persisted to chunter behind us for the whole second half with comments such as ‘Don’t let the bloke in front hear you say that about Hodgson’ when quite clearly we didn’t feel these things.

    It’s quite interesting being a fan and a supporter at the moment- Rafa divides opinion so much. It’s a real with us or against us mentality and its seeping into the ground and dividing the fans as far as I could see.

    When it comes to Hodgson- I don’t think he’s done well at all. He displays no passion and a sincere lack of ideas when the chips are down. However there are things that have counted against him this season

    - Torres’ form has been shocking and its not like he’s not getting service. His ball control was up there with Heskey the other night. You can forgive any player a bad run, but his has been since last season.
    - Gerrard is not the player he once was (cue barrage of abuse)
    - There has been more drama in the boardroom this season than in a live episode of Eastenders.
    - Hodgson inherited a side which had very little balance to it, in particular with regards to wide players.

    Now, I am not defending Hodgson by any means, but these are not good start points.
    Maybe the lack of confidence displayed by the players could be accreditted to him as he never has struck me as an inspired leader. Even Pepe looked ropey against Wolves. Or maybe it’s a hangover from last season’s disillusion. Who knows.
    Maybe Hodgson should have made buying some decent wide players a priority. Perhaps he had not enough to spend, which was always Rafa’s argument.

    I think Hodgson’s major mistakes this season have been:
    - Buying dross in Poulsen and Konchesky.
    - Playing players out of position
    - Not having the bottle to have a rant at his players publicly and have a go at Ferguson.
    - Poor style of football.

    I’d also like to add that I thought the fact that Konchesky was booed the other night appalling- yes the guy was rubbish. So was Johnson. So was Dirk. So was Torres. All these have been consistently bad this season, so singling out one player for criticism is just plain wrong.

    Anyway I don’t think Hodgson will last the season and i think it will be for the best. His attitude and style of football doesn’t suit LFC. However I do hope that if he is sacked, then this short-tenure is only a one off and not indicative of things to come. We do not want to become the next Newcastle and change our manager every six months.

    • alexdavis90 says:

      Well thought out comment although I don’t want to get into a Rafa v Roy debate too much (there’s enough of that already!) and haven’t got much time so I’m going to quickly respond to your last points.

      I also disagree with the cheering when Konchesky came off. However I think the cheers were made more at Roy (fans were dissappointed with taking Ngog off earlier) and Konchesky to many represents his tenure. It may also have something to do with it being the first home game since his mum’s comments that were made public a couple of week a go. These don’t excuse the jeering but with such frustration around Anfield it just reached boiling point.

      Also I’m sure if Hodgson gets sacked it won’y be a sign of things to come. As long as the right man is appointed, which NESV/FSG will want to ensure has a long-term strategy, I’m sure fans will revert to normal and rediscover the bond with managers we’ve had since Shankly. Unfortunately, rightly or wrongly, for many Roy is the last lingering relic of the previous owners tenure.

      Alex

      • d says:

        Konchesky deserved everything he got. The lad should put in a transfer request if he doesn’t like it. What do you want us to do Alex, applaud him off the pitch? For good measure his mother should be banned from Anfield as well.

      • alexdavis90 says:

        I don’t mean I’m codemning it- I said I can understand why it happened after all that has happened. I just personally don’t like the booing of players however bad they are if they try but if fans want to I understand their frustrations as Aurelio is clearly a better player. I think the jeers were personally more aimed at Roy than the player anyway.

        Alex

  26. Vic says:

    I see in some comments the name Shankly.Well I have been a fan since the great man managed our club and I have to say he would turn in his grave at the behaviour of a number of fans.
    - The singling out of players for ridicule when things get tough.He was passionate for the fans to get behind EVERY player in the red shirt.
    - Fans starting to leave when Wolves scored with 30 minutes left for gods’ sake!!With 15 minutes to go it was an exodus.Hopefully they won’t stop walking until they reach Eastlands because I don’t want them next to me at a game.
    The players arn’t daft – they can see what’s going on in the stands and the very negative atmosphere generated by some supporters was picked up by the team.
    I am in no way defending Hodgson but I think some of our ‘fans’ should shoulder just a little bit of the blame.

    • d says:

      Do you pay good money to go Vic? Certainly doesn’t sound like you do…… At least half of this current team is shite and if you disagree then you must be blind. Shall we give them some gentle encouragement instead of showing our true feelings?????? Remember my friend that in Shanks’ day the players weren’t getting astronomical wages like they do today. If they don’t perform then we have a right to let them know.

      By the way Alex, Your star man Lucas has just missed a shocker of a sitter. Wait till you see it on telly tonight.

      • alexdavis90 says:

        Just my luck he misses a sitter! Ah well, never said he was prolific haha!

      • Vic says:

        Yes I do pay good money to go,d.Perhaps you were one of those leaving after 55 minutes?Sounds like you are.
        Remember that most of this squad finished 2nd not so long ago and about 7/8 players involved on Wednesday beat United 4-1.It’s not as if the whole squad has been re-vamped in 2 years.
        My biggest concern is changing managers in mid-season.I think it is no good for the club but I must stress I am not happy but I am doing my best to get behind the team.
        By the way,my friend,my eyesight is pretty good although I need specs to read the paper.

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  28. interesting article.
    personally I feel for Roy and think that expectations are too high for a squad that is poor, as well as hit by injury to it’s best players. I think he’ll turn it around given time, but not sure he’ll be there long enough.

  29. Bradfordian LFC says:

    I agree with the fact that Lucas is not our worst player, watching him, you could see he likes to hold on to the ball. Here are some basic thing that every LFC manager should have:
    -Strong personality
    -Attacking style of play
    -Close relationship with fans & players
    -Not afraid to say and do what is necessary (going toe to toe wth Fergie springs to mind)
    The reason the mancs are now so good is that they brought in a man who will do whatever it takes to get the side up and running. They had a total revamp and have never looked back. Our seasons target every season should be League winners. As Shankly aptly put it, aim for the ceiling you will get nowhere, aim for the stars you will always get the ceiling. We need to get a winning mentallity into our players and play short snappy attacking football. NOT Barcelona. As good as they are they play way to slow. More towards an Arsenal sort of game with a more solid centre defence. To be honest, I would give Carra a bit part role, his experience is great for the big games but frankly he is over the hill. Gerrard at the front of an attacking 2 in midfield (Lucas or Meireles, Gerrard in an all out attack mode. Darby or Kelly at right back (and right back is exactly that defending first) Johnson down the right flank, a pacy left winger in january, maybe Arda Turan. Ngog given personal training by Ian Rush or Kenny Dalglish, he holds the ball up well but needs to find his shooting boots. The squad with a few additions and a diffferent mind set will give us the title. The two things that hit me most looking at Liverpool play this season and last is the appalling lack of movement and the fear of going forward. Hopefully we will get a decent manager (I would do the job for free) ;)

  30. hdaz says:

    Iv not seen it written yet… so I will….

    say Kenny D took over today and lost every single game while in charge till the end of the season and we went down.
    (totally unthinkable)

    I don’t think Liverpool supporters would be calling for his head.

    With Roy he could win every game from now till the end of the season and LFC Supporters would still ask for a new manager.

    Id personally give Kenny 2+ years

  31. drillsarge says:

    Well well. It’s got back to the old blame it all on lucas theory again. Lucas was brizilian player of the year before he came to LFC. Yeah a league where they know how to pass and dont have square feet!

    He has never been a fav at anfiled but its because he’s been used out of position. He was an attacking midfield player in brazil and rafa thought he’d be a smartass and put him as a creative defensive midfielder

    The laugh is, now he has been playing that position for couple of years in and out of the team, it has improved his overall game, made him more versatile, and he’s had his premier league baptism too

    For 6mil he was a snip. Considering N’Gog was subject to a 5mil bid during summer but his 40k wages were a stumbling block!!!!!!!!

  32. drillsarge says:

    Roy Hodgson was an unmitigated disaster and was only hired as he was the only guy around who would take over LFC when they knew the transfer cash spending was over until new owners were found!

    C’mon? He was never going to be popular with fans being a silly last ditch appointment by hicks and gillette while they were hanging on by the skin of their plaque(not even teeth)

    Say what you like about rafa. He was prickly, difficult, power hungry and an egomaniac but he seemed to know what he was doing especially in the champs league. A tactical genius for 4/5 years for LFC and another couple years before for valencia in their UEFA cup triumph and plus a double triumph in la liga with a blip in between where they finished outside the top 4

  33. drillsarge says:

    Cant wait to see our 2 new forwards playing and what way they will fit in. Get fit carroll so we can see you and that other greedy little git saurez link up well and put LFC back on the map. If we cant win this title(yea..right..) at least become a high scoring team. In my day we always were there or there abouts at the top of the league and also at the top of the goal scoring charts.

    Now rafas defensive odyssey is over, after that houllier git, we can go back to the proper liverpool way under king kenny

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