Liverpool Improve, But Why The Changes?

Roy Hodgson Manager Liverpool 2010/11 Manchester United V Liverpool (3-2) 19/09/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Liverpool produced an improved display to gain a well earned 0-0 draw against Napoli. Reds boss Roy Hodgson opted to make a whole host of changes for the game, but his fringe players certainly impressed with notable performances from Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey.

While I don’t want to take anything away from the Liverpool display you have to question the Liverpool side that Hodgson put out. He opted to leave star men and Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard at home, claiming it was important they got rest before the ‘crucial’ game against Blackburn on Sunday.  While Torres and Gerrard have both had problems with injuries in recent times, surely a win in any competition would be a just what the club need.

Yes Liverpool are in the bottom three of the Premier League, but in reality we know that it would take a miracle for them to still be there come the end of the season. They are already out of the Carling Cup, and Premier League success does look a million miles away. So surely the Europa League is of quite high importance for Hodgson.

Well apparently not. Despite his success in the tournament with Fulham last season, it looks as if Hodgson isn’t particularly fussed about another challenge for the trophy this term. But given their dreadful start to the season, I don’t think he is in a position where he can pick and chose what trophies he goes for.

At Fulham he could have probably got away with a lack of competitiveness in a European tournament, but at Anfield expectations are much higher and the Liverpool fans who travelled over to Naples will surely have been left bemused at the sub-standard side that Hodgson fielded.

I think in many ways Hodgson is still adjusting to life on Merseyside and coming to terms with the expectations of the fans, and while they may have been forgiving during the turbulent times where a takeover of the club was in the balance they will be expecting to see results improve very soon.

Hodgson can still succeed at Liverpool, I have no doubt about that. But he needs to start turning things around quickly. The new owners will be looking to make a statement of intent, and if the Reds are still languishing around the foot of the Premier League, or out of Europe in December, it would certainly demonstrate their expectations and ambition if Hodgson was shown the door.

I don’t want to see Hodgson used in this way, because he doesn’t deserve it. But unfortunately football is a cruel world, and results talk. Wins on all fronts for Liverpool in the next few weeks will be crucial for Hodgson and in my opinion vital to his tenure.

45 thoughts on “Liverpool Improve, But Why The Changes?”

  1. He left out Torres and Gerrard to lower expectations for the game against Napoli. Personally I don’t think even a win on Sunday will save Hodgson’s job. He has been unimpressive so far and I feel NESV are already looking for his replacement sooner rather than later. If reports circulating are correct then he’ll be gone before the first 28 days of NESV’s takeover. He was hired because he was English and supposedly understood the EPL. Well, it just goes to show how wrong people were about him. I don’t think he is a world-class manager right now in his career and don’t see Liverpool winning anything with him at the helm. Liverpool should look to the future and bring in someone with fresh ideas who can also motivate and bring out the best in his players. Hodgson has failed thus far to provide any glimpse of hope to Liverpool fans.

  2. I agree with your article that Hodgson needs to quickly bring results. If Torres was in the bench, we could’ve won but his mere presence. While watching the game, the napoli defense were nervous with Ngog and babel playing upfront. Imagine with torres. But I still want Pacheco to play!! There must be something going on behind the scenes there.

  3. Liverpool haven’t won an EPL game since the 29th of August. That says all you want to know about Hodgson and how he understood the EPl and so would be better than Benitez. I wonder how many Benitez-haters now wish he were still in charge. Hodgson looks like he hasn’t a clue about coaching a team full of stars like Gerrard and Torres, and a lot of international players too. Only Everton and Manure fans would like Hodgson to stay till January.

    Just read something on the wire where Souness has been going on about how all of Liverpool’s problems are the fault of Benitez and that Roy is the right man for the job. Talk about ulterior motives. He wants people to forget than he was the worst manager in Liverpool history and that right now the only person that is on track to be worse than him is Roy. Nice one Souness :) .

  4. All reports have it that Roy has lost the dressing room and several high profile players are refusing to play for him.


      1. “reports” might be a bit strong…it’s all over the various LFC boards….Carra & Stevie behind Hodgson and Pepe & Torres coming close to refusing to play for the man.

  5. Improvement is a relative term. People were expecting the worse given the lineup Hodgson put out but I watched the game and I wasn’t really impressed. I really don’t know what the fuss about Hodgson is/was all about. He may have been a good manager once but not anymore. So much for wanting a British manager with EPL experience as the EPL title is what Liverpool fans want to win the most. What a laugh.

  6. Cant see liverpool doing better. I expect them to finish above the drop zone, but no where near the europa league spots. I dont see them going anywhere farther than what wolves expect from their lackluster squad to say the least. Liverpool shouldn’t have been sold, they should have pulled a Leeds. Much better than if they stay a the botum of the league, with all these stars, and still not going anywhere. Who ever goes to liverpool at this point is only going becuase of the name Liverpool. They must have some god negotiators for torres and friends to still be there. And for even signing maxi in the first place. If i was were to be at their next game, i would tos one of those plastic chairs at the guys who sit in the box for vip’s. Because thats exactly what they were paying for. Mediocrity.

  7. Yes yes. I know. It is quite hard to coach a team ful of stars. I want to go back to my old team where they only expected 2 wins every 5-6 matches. Because thats achievable. But liverpool want 4 wins minimum in 5-6 matches. Im not of that class. I hope they dont fire me. And if they do, im going to reveal everything about what happens inside the clubs dressing room. Gerrard is the biggest faggot. Thats why he wont leave. DOnt listen to what im telling everybody else like the tv stations about best of intentions and all of that.

  8. “his fringe players certainly impressed with notable performances from Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey.”

    I only caught the first half of today’s game, so unless these two players had a standout 2nd half, i saw nothing notable form anyone on the team.

  9. the new kings of leon album is amazing, serious. oh yeah, roy is not in fulham anymore. more egos even though the entire team should feel humbled. but saying that he inherited rafa’s mess, remember that.

  10. I was optimistic that Roy could steady things and keep LFC mid-table throughout the year until the team got sold but he just hasnt done the job. I admire that he has tried all sorts of different configurations-Rafa wouldn’t have done that but on the whole the team is playing like they are stuck in mud. I saw somewhere today where the writer theorized that Roy was a better coach without the stars-managing the “lesser” players to a higher level of efficiency and I kind of agree with the sentiment. While the Europa Cup isn’t the top level tournament, its not chopped liver either. They have been very competitive with teams in their class.

  11. Typical. Blame it on the manager when the players cannot produce ANY results whatsoever. Is it Hodgson’s fault that Torres has done nothing this season? Was he to blame when Liverpool went down a man after a stupid challenge by Joe Cole, yet they still led Arsenal 1-0 in the closing minutes until Reina knocked the ball into his own net?

    The most telling sign for me was the fact that this team lost to Northampton Town in the League Cup? I don’t care what players were chosen and what formation was played, there is no way this team should lose a game like that even if they were without a manager.

    But yeah…fire Hodgson. Then wait two months before wanting to sack the next manager of choice. See you in the Championship.

    1. You make a good point with the cole and reina instances, but to say roy has had nothing to do torres “doing nothing this season” is just ridiculous.

  12. What’s more important Europa or the league? Liverpool aren’t going to win either but escaping the drop zone is priority. So Hodgson was right to rest his best players and the last thing Liverpool need is an injury to any of them.

  13. “Yes Liverpool are in the bottom three of the Premier League, but in reality we know that it would take a miracle for them to still be there come the end of the season.”
    That miracle is for Hodgson to still be the manager in May. Come on Roy, do it for your pal Fergie :) .

  14. “Just read something on the wire where Souness has been going on about how all of Liverpool’s problems are the fault of Benitez and that Roy is the right man for the job.”

    Of course, if there was one man’s opinion I would listen to when it comes to discussing weakening Liverpool teams, it’s Souness. :)

  15. As a neutral who thinks Hodgson is almost definitely gonna be out of the job soon, I still think this article is clutching at straws in its attempts to criticise him.

    The team just got a draw away from home against a decent Serie A team. That’s a pretty good result.

    It’s pretty understandable that he would rest Torres and Gerrard, since (a) they’re both injury prone, and (b) regardless on Liverpool’s right to “pick and choose” what competitions they need to compete in, getting a run of good results in the EPL is undoubtedly the most important thing right now. And given that Hodgson’s team has still pulled off a good result, even without its two star players, I think this has justified his decision to rest them.

    Most of all, you admit that this was “an improved display” in your very first sentence, but then proceed to try and say this was a “substandard side”, he’s not taking the Europa league seriously, etc etc.

  16. James, thanks for the link. I must say I agree with his assessment of Hodgson. I hope NESV move swiftly and bring in a manager who is more forward thinking and who can get the team playing well again. Just read that Kamara said he stayed at Fulham because Hodgson left and Murphy says Fulham are more offensive-minded now that Hodgson has gone. A damning indictment of Hodgson’s style and why Liverpool would be better off with a different manager.

  17. James Milner, thanks for the post. I read the Tomkins article and I must say he is right on the money about Roy Hodgson. Liverpool fans have a long wait to get back up to the top 4 or even top 6 if Hodgson is manager. He seems clueless about managing a top-tier team.

  18. Why is anyone surprised by any of Hodgson’s decisions or tactics. He has no idea what he’s doing and ruining Liverpool. The sooner he goes the better. Anyone who swaers by Poulsen achoring the midfield should be certified mad.

  19. I believe Roy Hodgson will be given the 10 games he said he needs before being judged. After the Bolton game his fate will be decided. That date falls within the 28 days of new ownership taking over during which time his contract can be bought off for 3 million pounds. I believe he has convinced the new owners that he will be able to prove by then that the team is on the right track. However, a loss on Sunday to Blackburn could change the timeline.

  20. Just look at Hodgson’s record before Liverpool and you will see that he has been very average. No surprise then that he is a failure at Liverpool. Liverpool don’t sack managers after just a few games but if they want to reverse this awful start they will have to make an exception and fire Hodgson. I have never seen a more pathetic figure on Liverpool’s sidelines than Hodgson. He seems totally clueless.

  21. My claim of Roy losing the dressing room is substantiated

    The stories I’ve heard are that Carra & Gerrard want an English manager and are adamant about keeping Roy because of that.

    Again, the stories I’m hearing have Torres & Reina leading the opposition.

    Just fyi folks.

    YNWA!! Hodgson for England!

    1. Thanks for sharing Scott. Let’s see if the story turns out to be true. There are no sources quoted in the story, so it could be based off Internet rumors. But let’s see.

      The Gaffer

  22. It’s not a surprise that Carragher would defend Roy Hodgson. It’s Roy that offered him a new contract. Something few managers would have done given his age. If the Daily Mail article is true then this is even worse news.

  23. There might be some truth to the divisions in the Liverpool squad. Hodgson, in his prematch conference, went out of his way to praise the professionalism of Gerrard and Carragher. Some on the Liverpool forum have concluded that this just proves there is indeed a split about Hodgson in the Liverpool camp. Things are beginning to unravel for Hodgson so it will be left to be seen how long before NESV do something to right the ship. Bad times for the once mighty Reds.

  24. Liverpool will never improve with Hodgson in charge. Here’s a fact. The last time his team won an away game was 17 months ago against Portsmouth. The only trophy his team has ever won was in Scandinavia. Anyone who thinks Roy Hodgson is a better than average manager should check his resume which is not very impressive. When he was sacked at Blackburn in 1998 they were rock bottom and he outspent even Ferguson at Man United that summer.

  25. As a Liverpool fan I’m getting more worried the more I look into Roy Hodgson’s credentials. Really depressing stuff. I just checked Fernando’s facts and it is true that he hasn’t won an away game in almost a year and a half when Fulham beat Portsmouth. This year Liverpool haven’t won an EPl game since August. I’m not sure he should be given any more time. Better bring in a new manager who can assess the team till January and then make changes in the January transfer window. That makes the most sense.

  26. Don’t worry Liverpool fans Roy will bring you back from the Championship in a couple of years. He is that good. You might as well start watching the Championship games from now to get a feel of what awaits you next season.
    In Roy We Trust :)

  27. It’s time for Roy Hodgson to go. The latest straw for me is that he questioned the credentiasl of Frank Rikaard by saying if Rikaard was such a reat manager why would he be fired by Galatasary. That’s not the Liverpool way. Disgraceful. I’ve lost all respect for Hodgson. He should go regardless of whether Liverpool win, lose or draw against Blackburn.

  28. Wasn’t Hodgson fired by Blackburn? What an idiot to say what he did about Rikaard who has won 2 La Liga titles and a Champions League trophy to Hodgson’s Scandinavian title. I guess Roy thinks winning a Scandinavian title is more difficult than winning in LaLiga or the Champions League.

    Anyone who cred to look at his past will know that he has always been a mediocre manager. However, I always thought he was a class act and a gentleman. Not anymore.

  29. Here’s Hodgson’s winning percentages at some of the clubs he has managed:

    Blackburn Rovers 1 June 1997- 21 November 1998 62 22 18 22 35.48%

    Internazionale 5 October 1995- 25 May 1997 86 38 25 23 44.19%

    Udinese 21 June 2001- 10 December 2001 17 7 5 5 41.18%

    Fulham 30 December 2007- 1 July 2010 127 50 32 45 39.37%

    Liverpool 1 July 2010-present 16 6 5 5 37.50%

    games wins draws losses win percentage
    Total 590 238 177 175 40.34%

    1. And how much did Rafa Benitez spend at Liverpool, putting them severely into debt to accomplish his 56% win percentage? And in contrast, how little transfer funds has Hodgson had? Yes, the 37.5 percentage is pathetic, but it’s not exactly a fair comparison.

      The Gaffer

  30. Gaffer,
    I didn’t give Hodgson’s winning percentages to compare it with Rafa’s. All I wanted to do was show that Hodgson shouldn’t put down other managers, as he did Rikaard, when his own record isn’t that great.

    Leaving aside a few changes, Hodgson is working with essentially the same players that Rafa left behind. Surely if Hodgson is as good a manager as everyone says he is Liverpool should not be anywhere near the bottom. I’m not suggesting that they should be challenging for the title but fighting relegation?

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