Anyone who has read any of my previous articles will know that I’m a huge fan of Roy Hodgson. I think he is a great football man with a wealth of knowledge. He is a fine tactician and he is able to get the very best out of average players by organising them to be very difficult to beat. Unfortunately, many people, including me, wondered whether Liverpool was the right move for Roy at this stage of his career. As it is turning out, he does look to be out of his depth.
After the Wolves defeat, Hodgson seemed to be blaming the players and, in a suicidal move, the fans, for the current position.
“The fans have left angry and that’s understandable. We’ve let them down. I have to hope the fans will become supporters because we need support. We are not deliberately losing games.”
Liverpool’s supporters chanted the name of Kenny Dalglish and also sarcastically, ‘Hodgson for England’, during and after the game.
“I am getting used to it, that is the way it is. We’ve had to live with that for quite a long time now as ever since I came here the famous Anfield support has not really been there. There were the problems with the owners, then Kenny being so popular and not getting the job and it being given to me. It is sad and I don’t like hearing those things because I am trying to do the best job I can do. As manager, you take responsibility for that so I have to take that criticism on the chin as well. You have seen these players before. They are just not playing like they have done in the past so I think it is time for the fans to really help as well. It is not for lack of trying that we are not winning matches. Maybe we are lacking quality and lacking confidence. The negativity doesn’t help. The players are not getting on the ball for fear of making mistakes.”
During the game Fernando Torres once again cut a forlorn figure and Steve Gerrard, following a six week injury lay off, looked understandably short of match sharpness.
“A lot of our players were below their form and the level we want them to play at. It was a performance way below what we are capable of and what we wanted to give. I’d like to give Wolves credit but I think we were a bit unlucky to lose the game. Probably 0-0 would have been a fair result but it was nowhere near our expectations or hopes. It’s one of those days that saddens you as a coach and as a player. Tonight the fans go home angry and disappointed because they’ve seen their team play badly.”
Hodgson went on to say that there may not be a lot of movement in the January transfer window, but that he was also aware that other people at the club could take things out of his hands.
“It would be dangerous to clear a lot of players out on the basis of one game. We wanted our renaissance to start today but it hasn’t happened. Panic would be the wrong thing to do but I’m not the sole arbiter of that.”
Unfortunately, that last statement sums up what the problem is. Hodgson has gone on record as saying that a top half finish would be a reasonable performance. He really does think that the Wolves game was a one-off. A top half finish is not success for Liverpool and a current position of twelfth and a record of eight defeats in eighteen games is not good enough. It is a symptomatic problem whereby the players do not seem to buy-in to Roy’s methods, beliefs and the way he wants to play. It is a whole lot more than a 1-0 defeat to the bottom club.
Telling the fans that they are out of order and asking them to be proper supporters is simply not the answer. I love you Roy, but I think your time at Anfield may be coming to an end.