Is the former Celtic and Aston Villa man the right man to take Anfield side back into the big time?
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Roy Hodgson thought he knew the size of the task he faced when he took over Liverpool. Now he realises it’s too big for him.
The squad is a mess, and the players are in disarray. It’s true you can only use what’s at your disposal, but glaring misjudgements and insults will only be tolerated for so long.
Today, Liverpool are four points off the relegation zone. Sunday they face United at Old Trafford. On current form, the only realistic result is a home win. Losing at Old Trafford in the FA Cup, though terrible for Liverpool fans, is no disgrace. Not many teams win there. Losing at home to Northampton on penalties in the Carling Cup however, it simply not acceptable. Neither is a home defeat by Wolves.
The Liverpool board are not looking for instant miracles. They are looking for signs of progress, shoots of recovery which is reflected by their transfer philosophy. This would also make the fans happy. But Liverpool look like they are going backwards under Hodgson. He has signed poor quality players, and ones already released by the club. Joe Cole is not playing in his best position. His creativity is being strangled.
Hodgson publicly said Cole would not be guaranteed first team football. If this is Hodgson’s view people must respect that while he’s in charge. But he should be talking to players on the training ground or in his office. Doing this in public at a time when the squad needs to pull together and be united is very damaging. So is questioning the fans loyalty, commitment and support. These are oversights you would not expect from a manager with Hodgson’s experience.
No-one can question the squad have underperformed. They must take a lot of the blame. But ultimately, it’s the manager who rightly of wrongly, gets blamed for the form of his team.
Buy why should players not have their contracts terminated if they consistently perform badly? This would happen to every other person in the country in any profession if they were guilty of this. Also, when they sign a contract it does really mean anything. Surely it should work both ways, so clubs are protected.
If NESV are serious about making transfer funds available in January, a decision about the long term management of the club needs to be made immediately.
Suggestions of Owen Coyle would be seen by Liverpool fans as a step even further backwards, despite his growing reputation. The recently sacked Roy Keane would certainly shake things up, but his links with Old Trafford make this out of the question. He is also unproven. And who dare whisper the name ‘Benitez’.
Surely the time is right for Martin O’Neil? Liverpool needs a big name. A manager who’s not afraid to make big decisions. Someone who can be trusted in the transfer market. Liverpool also needs a man the players would immediately respect. But this does not mean it should be Kenny Dalglish.
The fact it’s unlikely a new manager would come in and turn around performances and results quickly will not save Hodgson. Neither will the fact he’s only had a few months in charge, or that January will mean he can bring in new players and try to build his vision for Liverpool’s future.
Neither will a win on Sunday.
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