When the final whistle blew at Anfield Wednesday night, the air was deafened by the sound of a chorus of boos. That was followed by some in The Kop singing Kenny Dalglish’s name and cheeky “Hodgson for England” chants. In what was definitely Liverpool’s worst performance of the season, the team crashed to a 1-0 defeat against Wolves and gave a lethargic performance that can be best summed up by considering the following four statistics.
- One shot. Both Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres played the entire 90 minutes and between them, they created one shot which was a feeble effort from Torres, outside of the penalty box, that was blocked. Ryan Babel, meanwhile, generated two shots – twice as many as Gerrard/Torres – and he came on in the 63rd minute. One shot was off target while the other one was blocked.
- One cross. Liverpool completed just one successful cross during the entire match.
- Zero shots on target in the second half. With Liverpool down 1-0 in the second half, you would expect the Reds to mount a massive charge in their pursuit of getting an equalizer. But it’s hard to win or draw matches when you create no shots on target in the second 45 minutes. During the first half, Liverpool created just three shots on target (two from David N’Gog and one from Raul Meireles).
- 27 years. The win by Wolves was the first time in 27 years that the club have beaten Liverpool.
Those depressing statistics for Liverpool supporters will ignite the belief of many who think it’s time for Hodgson to leave. In the post-match conference at Anfield, Hodgson had some stinging words for the Anfield faithful which will not help him win any fans:
“Ever since I came here the famous Anfield support hasn’t really been there. There was the problem with the former owners [Tom Hicks and George Gillett] and there was the fact that Kenny [Dalglish] was so popular, but the job went to me. I have had to live with that. I have to hope the fans will become supporters because we need support. We are not deliberately losing games. You have seen these players before but they are not playing like they have in the past, so I think it is time for the fans to really help as well.”
Whether Liverpool supporters will get behind the team is tough to say. At times you could hear a pin drop at Anfield Wednesday night during the match, so quiet were the spectators. But it seems that the loss against Wolves, who sat at the bottom of the league before the match began, was one too many even for me. I’ve backed Hodgson throughout his career as a football manager at Liverpool saying that the Reds need to give him more time. But based on tonight’s performance, I believe it’s time for Hodgson to thrown in the towel. It’s not working and it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to work for him at this rate.
If Liverpool owner John W. Henry doesn’t have an exit strategy in place for Hodgson, chances are that he may want to get one ready because it does seem that the Liverpool players have given up hope. Footballers have to earn praise. Play well and give it 100% and football supporters will get behind a team. But when a team plays as pathetically as they did Wednesday night, it’s only natural to expect the punters who pay hard-earned money for the tickets to boo their disapproval.