Home > Football, Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool, Manager, Roy Hodgson > My thoughts on: Liverpool FC

My thoughts on: Liverpool FC

With Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager being openly debated this last week, with particular reference to his short stint in charge at Liverpool being (unfairly in my opinion) considered a major blot on his curriculum vitae, coupled with further defeats for the Kopites against Fulham in the league and to Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the blame for Liverpool’s recent poor form being laid firmly at Hodgson’s door.

Roy Hodgson was appointed manager of Liverpool in July 2010 having just overseen Fulham’s unexpected Uefa Cup final appearance against Atletico Madrid of Spain; 6 months and 31 games later he was sacked.

The statistic that is commonly thrown around as evidence of his failing is the new England manager’s win ratio at Anfield which is the fifth lowest post war at 41.94%. This is a figure that cannot be denied, nor can the Premier League table at the time of his departure, but I would question again whether Roy Hodgson can be solely blamed for that predicament.

It never really worked out for the new England manager at Anfield

When I was growing up and first started watching football, Liverpool were the dominant force, however, they haven’t added to their 18 league titles since 1989/90, a gap of 22 years and represents the longest period without a league title since the 24 years that separated their 1923 and 1947 triumphs, albeit there was the small matter of The Second World War during that time. What is more apparent however is the lack of true realistic attempts at taking the title back to Liverpool since the birth of The Premier League and Manchester Utd’s dominance. Reviewing Liverpool’s performance over this time may suggest that some supporters may need to adjust their expectancies as 62% of the time, Liverpool have finished outside of the top-3 and prior to Hodgson’s appointment, Rafael Benitez’s reign petered out with a seventh placed finish; they currently sit ninth under Kenny Dalglish.

In my mind, Roy Hodgson wasn’t going to Anfield to challenge for the title, it was more about a rebuilding job which needed to start with some consolidation. Amidst this, there was the backdrop of the club being put up for sale, the lack of confidence or support for the then owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, and the general instability in and around the Anfield hierarchy. In addition to this, Hodgson had Kenny Dalglish as a prominent figure above him, the true Anfield legend and in my view a key perpetrator of his role being undermined.

Then we look at the squad that was available at the beginning of the 2010/11 season. Roy Hodgson was attributed with the signings of Joe Cole (who I had thought would’ve  excelled at Anfield but struggled for form and fitness and at least now appears to be enjoying his football again as one of England’s few exports), Raul Meireles (who is now a Champions League finalist at Chelsea), Paul Konchesky (who had just enjoyed an excellent season at Fulham and was anticipated to fill the problematic left-back position but never really settled), and Christian Poulsen (which was possibly poor judgment). People tend to forget that Alberto Aquilani, Sotiros Kyrgiakos, Jonjo Shelvey and Milan Jovanovic were Benitez signings. In addition to these, Hodgson had a squad that remained heavy of underperforming individuals such as David Ngog and Ryan Babel; it certainly wasn’t a vintage team by any stretch of the imagination.

The return of ‘The King’

When Hodgson departed, in came ‘King Kenny’ and he was afforded the ability to make huge inroads into the transfer market. Out went Fernando Torres to Chelsea for a cool £50million (how I bet Hodgson wishes he had that money available) and in has come hugely expensive young Englishmen Jordan Henderson from Sunderland, Stewart Downing from Aston Villa and Andy Carroll from Newcastle Utd in addition to the tricky Uruguayan Luis Suarez and Blackpool’s Charlie Adam. Although Liverpool have won the League Cup this season (albeit via a penalty shoot-out against a side from a lower division), and also managed to make the FA Cup final, Liverpool’s league form has been abysmal, particularly at Anfield where they have built a history of being solid and consistent. Sunderland, Norwich City, Swansea City, Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City, Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham have all gone home with at least a point; this can’t be blamed on Hodgson and in my view is the reason why Liverpool have not even come close to looking like they may contend a Champions League place next season.

Kenny Dalglish may have been the right appointment when Roy Hodgson left; I do feel for Hodgson but it may have been a case of wrong time wrong place, but I think for Liverpool to begin to challenge at the top-end of the league again they need to invest in a world-class manager… Jose Mourinho would be perfect on Merseyside. If he got the financial backing I believe he would turn Liverpool into a force… if that was the case he would be spoken about in the same breath as Dalglish, Paisley and Shankley and that would suit Mourinho’s ego just fine.

  1. Michael
    May 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    If you ever went to Anfield and watched Hodgon’s Liverpool you would know Hodgson played a major role in why he was sacked. Boring, unambitious and cautious football. He always took to blaming everyone (including the fans) for Liverpool’s poor performances and results. He simply wasn’t the right candidate to be Liverpool manager. He is more suited for smaller clubs with limited budgets. He was terrible at managing expectations.

    • May 11, 2012 at 9:53 am

      My understanding is that Liverpool didn’t play great football whilst under the leadership of Roy Hodgson, and for that he must take some of the blame.

      It appears as though Hodgson was never a name that Liverpool fans would take to, which is a pity as if this was the case he was doomed to fail even before trying. The hangman was waiting with his noose as he signed the contract… I thought he was a brave man taking the role.

      My issue is that because of his time at Anfield, Hodgson has been stereotyped as a ‘small-club’ manager or even a ‘failed’ manager (hugely disrespectful I think having managed for over 3 decades), despite managing Inter Milan as well as some of the ‘biggest’ clubs in Sweden and Switzerland (albeit I appreciate they are not an equivalent in size and stature to Internazionale and Liverpool internationally) which comes with its own national pressures. I would point out that Hodgson’s ‘small club’ West Bromwich Albion are only 5 points behind Liverpool despite having hugely less resources… that’s not bad management is it?

  2. Anjum Amin Siddiqui
    May 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Liverpool is going nowhere whether it be GH, RB, RH or KD. The desire to win PL is not there rather for some odd reason qualifying for Europe is the ultimate goal. This season League Cup win and FA cup final seems to be satisfying for Manager. Something drastic needs to done otherwise Liverpool will become a relic, just proud of history.

    • May 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      I think it is a general reflection on modern day football in this country that success is either measured by finishing fourth or seventeenth dependant on your aspirations which is sad. I liked David Moyes comments yesterday stating that he shouldn’t be lauded for finishing seventh, nor should he be praised on a successful season, he saw it that they finished where arguably they should and that success is measured by finishing first. As for Liverpool, although the statistics show they have been fairly mean defensively, the profligacy in attack has really let them down and is the main catalyst to so many points being dropped against sides they would ordinarily expect to win against. I foresee another busy summer at Anfield and a move for Roberto Martinez wouldn’t be too bad an idea in my opinion.

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