Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Legends Support Hodgson In Moment Of Crisis

Liverpool players past and
present have rallied to the
defence of under-fire boss Roy
Hodgson, even as the storm
clouds gather over Anfield.
But the new Reds manager has
been warned that he must step
up and grasp the once-in-a-
lifetime opportunity at the club,
with a bold approach to his
reign...starting with tomorrow's
European showdown in Utrecht.
Hodgson has already come
under some intense, and harsh,
fire after a disappointing start to
the new campaign, which has
seen Liverpool pick up just six
points in six Premier League
matches, and disastrously crash
out of the Carling Cup to lowly
The experienced coach has
admitted to several mistakes as
he learns exactly what it is like to
manage a club with the massive
expectation of the Merseyside
club, including:
*Picking the wrong team against
Northampton, and not covering
himself with a Plan B from the
*Failing to defend Fernando
Torres against some wild
accusations from Sir Ferguson;
which didn't go down well with
Reds fans.
*Making comments about a
supporters' sit-in at Anfield last
weekend which were
misconstrued and appeared to
criticise those fans fighting for
the future of the club.
Hodgson believes he is the victim
of massive over-expectation at
Liverpool, which is not justified
given the under-achievement of
recent seasons.
He also believes he has inherited
an under-strength squad given
the money previously lavished on
it, with too many players simply
not good enough to even
challenge for a first team place.
But yesterday, John Aldridge,
one of the most deadly Liverpool
strikers of all time, said that the
time had come for the new
manager to make a statement,
by sending his side out
determined to pursue the
attacking policies of the club of
And the former Ireland
international also believes that
he can show his intent by picking
a strong side against Utrecht in
the Europa League on Sunday,
to grasp a much-needed,
confidence-boosting victory.
"As difficult as it may be to deal
with the impact of everything
surrounding the owners, the
players - and the management -
are the only ones who can help
lift the mood at the minute by
producing performances that will
restore some much needed
positivity," he said.
"The misery that Tom Hicks and
George Gillett have heaped on
the club is clearly affecting
everybody, but the only thing
that can be changed at the
moment is the results Liverpool
are getting and that has got to
come from within.
"Let's see Fernando Torres get
his chance to shine in Holland,
then; let's see Joe Cole get
another 90 minutes under his
belt rather than all the chopping
and changing that has been
going on - you never know, the
next 180 minutes might just give
everyone the left that is needed.
"It's far too early to start
panicking and asking questions
about the manager; he is still
finding his feet and having to
deal with a unique pressure.
"But if he can find a way to get
the Reds playing with a bit more
flamboyance and adventure, the
results will start to come and
that will lift the mood."
Aldrige believes that Hodgson
came to Liverpool for exactly the
right reasons - not for money or
instant glory, but because he
wanted to be part of one of the
biggest, and most historic clubs
in the world, no matter what
mess they are currently in.
But he also believes that the
manager must now appreciate
what it is that makes the club
unique - a bond with the fans
that will allow them to rise above
adversity to play in the Liverpool
Already, there has been talk of
Martin O'Neill being touted as a
potential replacement, but the
reality of the situation is that
Liverpool have no willl - or
indeed no money - to change
their manager just a ridiculously
short distance into his tenure.
Hodgson has been forced to
deal with months of turbulence
since his arrival, and has also
undeniably inherited a squad
which isn't strong enough to
challenge for honours...and will
take some time to replace.
And those sentiments were
yesterday echoed by Reds
keeper Pepe Reina, who strongly
argued that the new manager
must be given more time to turn
things around, and insisted that
all the players are backing him
to do that.
"People who criticise us already
should look at the fixtures we've
had. It has been a difficult start.
When you have so many
changes moving in a new
direction under a new boss,
things don't happen instantly,"
he said.
"Honestly, it can take between
three and six months before you
see improvements. Obviously the
quicker we adapt and improve as
a team the better it will be for
"That doesn't just happen
overnight. Each of us has to
adjust to working in a new way.
With the passing of each day I
get used to it and what the
manager wants. It's the same for
all of us. We need to be
Hodgson can certainly help
himself by being more dynamic
in his interaction with the fans
through the media, and also by
showing more appreciation of
what exactly is required of a
Liverpool team, no matter what
the outside pressures.
His biggest mistake so far was
not having back up on the
bench when things went wrong
against Northampton, and he
must address that swiftly by
ensuring he has the best possible
chance of winning not only in
Holland tomorrow night, but
also against Blackpool on
If that isn't enough for the new
boss to worry about, then there
was another warning yesterday
for another ex player, about
what lies ahead if things aren't
turned around swiftly.
Double Champions League
winner Steve McManaman left
Anfield during a period of
rebuilding in the late 1990s, and
he argued that Fernando Torres
and Steven Gerrard could be
forced to do the same unless
they see the manager has a clear
plan for success.
"There are reasons for what's
happening off the field, but no
matter what happens there will
be questions again. Torres is not
happy, Gerrard is not happy.
Their body language is not
good," he said.
"If Liverpool are 14th would you
stay? Would I stay? If it is the
same scenario, the same owners
and the same predicament I can
see their best players wanting to
leave and wanting to play in
Champions League football. They
need to be playing in the best
teams in the best leagues

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