Hodgson Must Go

by Ashley Escobar

Football has always been, to coin a famous phrase, “a simple game complicated by fools”. When we watch video’s of managers in changing rooms explaining tactics to their players, using chalk boards and other gadgets, we find ourselves also doing the same when trying to explain why our team did or did not perform in a certain match. Tactics, I would argue, are usually 35 to 40% the reason why a team performs well or badly in any given match (the other 60 to 65% being player ability and that unexplainable thing in football; team spirit) and watching Liverpool over recent months, I find myself cringing every time I hear someone on a television show or radio lambaste the players and defend the manager after bad performances.

It’s very easy to see the problems in the Liverpool squad; Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole are the only real creative players in the squad (and Joe Cole is yet to reach full fitness or find his form) and there is a lack of pace in the wide areas. But this can not serve as an excuse for some of the turgid football that has been on display so far this season. When you watch a Liverpool football match, the first thing that strikes you is how little control over game the team exerts; in the last 3 games against Wigan, Chelsea and Napoli, Liverpool have averaged 44% possession. That means that, for 56% of the time, the teams Liverpool have faced have had the ball and as Barcelona have shown us, that can be a very dangerous thing.

Roy Hodgson has also had the team defending really deep. Now, when playing counter-attacking football, defending deep is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem arises however, when you’re a team expected to win a match but spend most of it in your own half, keeping your “shape” and allowing the opposition to constantly probe your defence.  This has been the story of Liverpool matches so far this season. Whilst fans of a club like Fulham are willing to accept counter-attacking football as they’re team is not expected to win most of the matches it plays, Liverpool are traditionally one of the big teams in England and are expected to win a lot more matches than they loose over the course of a season.

My biggest issue with the deep defence is the problem it has created for Fernando Torres in particular. Many have commented on the lack of service to him as he usually finds himself isolated up the pitch. This causes Torres to have to drop deeper in order to receive the ball, leaving him now surrounded by not only defenders, but any deep-lying opposition midfield player. As we witnessed against Chelsea, Torres is at his best when he is able to isolate a defender, take him on and beat him for pace. When Torres is forced deep, he finds himself faced with two or more players, limiting what he is then able to do with the ball. Roy Hodgson’s insistence on a deep defence perhaps explains why Torres has constantly looked frustrated during matches as he finds himself being deployed as more of a target-man type striker which is a role he can play but doesn’t favour.

Hodgson also doesn’t like his team to play with much width. A feature of his Fulham team was inverted wingers, narrowing the field which allowed the “shape” of his team to remain very rigid. At Liverpool, I have found myself looking curiously at team sheets containing 4 or 5 central midfield players and wondering how Roy envisages his team breaking down deep, narrow defences. The Napoli match was a prime example of Roy’s insistence on a lack of width and how this has lead to Liverpool producing dire football; Napoli operate with a back three. The back three system is one that leaves itself open to good wing play but Hodgson picked a midfield composing of Poulsen, Spearing, Shelvey, Jovanovic and Meireles. Now, 4 of those 5 players are natural central midfield players. Whilst they are able to adapt to playing in other positions, by not being natural wingers, they were not able to take advantage of the open spaces the Napoli defence provided.

The fifth player in that midfield, Milan Jovanovic, is a player who is more used to playing out wide and showed this by getting behind the Napoli right back a few times in the first half and causing them some problems. Roy Hodgson’s response to this was to haul off Jovanovic at half time (because he dared to penetrate the oppositions defence and not keep the team “shape”) and replace him with another central midfield player in Steven Gerrard. Now whilst Gerrard went on to score a hat-trick and change the game, this was more player ability papering over the cracks of bad tactics.

Those who believe Hodgson will “eventually get it right” at Liverpool will still blame the squad and suggest that in the transfer window he will address the issues he needs to. In my opinion, the squad Hodgson inherited is far superior to what it is currently achieving and his track record shows that the displays are a result of his preference for certain tactical choices as opposed to the ability possessed by the players in his squad. Looking at how open this season has been, I believe that Liverpool have a chance to snatch fourth spot from a stumbling Spurs and rowing Man City but will be unable to do so until either their manager changes his approach (something he has already said he Is unwilling to do) or they change their manager.

With the news that a new CEO is soon to be appointed at the club by next year, we can assume Hodgson still has some time left with no one directly in place to make a decision on him. Let’s hope he takes this time to analyse his team and what has been happening and makes the adjustments needed or he will soon find himself walking away from his last chance to be considered a top manager.

39 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    If we had of replaced a world class manager with someone of equvialent stature Liverpool at the moment the way the League has being so bad this season plus the squad of players the manager would have had in June/July Liverpool would have being good enough to have more than 16 points out of 36 at this stage of the season.

    Our style of play has being awful and Hodgson again showed his negative streak by instructing his side to defend deep and stand off the opposition so much. The result against Chelsea was a brilliant performance but it allowed Roy to be what he is good being an underdog manager in charge of a underdog side.

    In my opinion he still hasn’t got what LFC is about and is out of his depth. His acheivements over his 35 year management career didn’t warrant him becoming LFC manager.

  2. james says:

    shame on u and your comments.

    can u qualiify your half time sub reason in the napoli game? how do u kno the reason he swaped for sg?
    pure speculation!

    cowboy up and show some damm loaylity!

    1. redtrev says:

      For gods sake man, pull your head out of the clouds and stop demanding blind loyalty in the face of this gimp’s relentless idiocy. He’s criticised players, flirted with ferguson over transfer stories, failed to defend nando against the treacherous claims of the same manc overlord, played carra at right back, 11 mil cm meireiles right wing and not played pacheco at all…he’s blamed rafa’s transfer record and then bought poulsen and bloody konchesky whilst letting aqua go just when he was fit…aaaaahhh!!!!! I’m a patient 37 yr old redman and i am certain this guy is only taking our club backwards just when we should be starting a brave new era of hope

      1. james says:

        agree with the pacheco situation,
        however the press questions fired at him where just to grab a cheap headline and then all and sundry swallow it without question, ive asked this writer to qualify his comments on the ht sub of sg and he has not – again this is erratic,collective reasoning.

        we as older fans need to put aside the emotion as getting emotional clouds our judgment.

        its easy to critiscise in the face of advirsity, harder to actually do a postive thing as fans the only postive thing is to support.
        booing at the end after uve paid yr money is ok if u must boooing during and at individuals is riddiculas with no posotive objective.

        the negativity here is astounding.

        one wud think weve just become an above average side in the last few months! the harsh reality is weve been above average since the season before. we have no consitency this is not one mans fault it is a collective.

        I take issue with the lynch mob rounding on another manager,
        who the hell r we gonna get at this stage and dont say daggers as thats the heart rulling the head.
        I also detest the recent premature anhilation of yet another lfc player (c polusen)
        seen it all b4 whelan,lucas,even alonso have had bad starts at our club, yet they turned it round.
        fickle and beyond any sensible balance is the treatment polusen has recived. its a discrace shame on those who boo a red man after such a sh.ort time. U can see he does have vision and his passes in some games have been first rate. before jesus weeps will these morons ever see the damage they start.
        danish player of the year,
        a strong heart , loyal, international experriance , italian leaugeue etc….
        he hasnet turned into a bad palyer on the flight over for goodnesss sake.form is temp class is permannet

        seen it all b4 whelan,lucas,even alonso have had bad starts at our club, yet they turned it round.

        fickle and beyond any sensible balance is the treatment polusen has recived. its a discrace shame on those who boo a red man after such a sh.ort time. U can see he does have vision and his passes in some games have been first rate. before jesus weeps will these morons ever see the damage they start.
        danish player of the year,
        a strong heart , loyal, international experriance , italian leaugeue etc….
        he hasnet turned into a bad player on the flight over for goodnesss sake.

        rummors of a pepe move ? no feckin wonder when he sees fellow players treated like this,

        its a war at our club its been going on for too long yet recent months have seen some stability , we are nearly throu the storm yet still the feever continues with a witch hunt.

        when ur at war u need to tow the line its called discipline and it gets the collective throu the shit.

        I ask all fans again to – cowboy the fuck up

        1. redtrev says:

          Half arsed lectures on discipline wont make roy hodgson a better manager and i dont need anyone telling me i’m being judgemental after nearly 4 decades as a red. Get on ur horse and do ne ‘cowboy’…and take thhat senile gimp wit u

        2. james says:

          ‘ fickle and beyond any sensible balance ‘

          I fear any knee jerk reaction will spirall us further

          Im not happy with a lot of things with the club

          r we forgetting the mess h&g have forced upon us.

          half arsed as u put it is what people do when they follow the media,boo boy crowd etc..

          when its quite clear rh is dealing with a much weakend unit.

          argueablly our best player last year left, mascherano whent and like it not we miss him badly.

          our mid is so lightwieght now its awful.

          emotion is diifcult to control when we are so bad right now – profffesionals need to focus

          thankfully the people in charge will not let emotion rule.

          it takes great strength to lead thru shit times

          if these desenters were in my squadron id make sure they weer at the front and when the bullets fly! ……………….

  3. King Kong says:

    Great analysis on Woy. Took the words out of my mouth. This Liverpool team is perhaps the worst I’ve seen since Souness days but hey Souness’s team never dropped to relegation zone.

  4. Marshy says:

    The bloke is a complete disaster both on and off the pitch. He is tactically clueless at this level and shows no desire to actually go out and win games. His “happy wwith a point” mentality is suited to mid table clubs where he has now installed Liverpool. Of the pitch his interviews are emabarrasing and border on the delusional. Today he slags off Johnson who has been injured for a while, yet praises Carragher who has been awful.
    The sooner this joker goes the better for all at tyhe club, bar Carragher and Gerrard who like their pet poodle.

    1. Frank says:

      your right about Carragher and Gerrard, they are happy to make excuses for this sad excuse of a manager. Can they be as blind and xenophobic as pathetic pundits who laud anything English no matter how bad? Rafa was slaughtered when we were on our way to second place in the league for every tactical decision he made and we now have an idiot and no one says a thing.

  5. gazYNWA says:

    this article is the biggest pile of shit ive ever read! stop slagging off the manager and moaning and get behind the team!

    1. Dave Cooper says:

      Surely you should only get behind the manager if he is worth getting behind, blindly supporting him regardless of how inept he is is a ridiculous suggestion.

  6. Navin says:

    Very good analysis. Roy Hodgson is the last remnant of the Hicks and Gillet era that was, to be polite, unbecoming of Liverpool’s traditions of excellence. Having him on guarantees the loss of unattainability Champions League Football tis season and the eventual loss of star talent like Torres. Why show loyalty to Hodgson when he is taking Liverpool down to his own mediocre standards?

  7. Philip gray says:

    Have you seen the Stoke game god o mity he takes off roul when it should have been Lucas if lfc fans thinks Lucas is a first team choice well be ready for the worst season yet and we ness rid of Roy fast before it is to late we wanted a striker and look what he bought koncheski bum Lucas bum Kuyt ok works hard by running after the ball other than that bum millan fast not good enough so see what chance we have we need to let the new owners no that we want Roy out or you can say goodbye to the Europa leage next season to new manager next week so we can recover

  8. Kent-Norway says:

    Hodgson out now!

    He can go back to small clubs like Viking, AIK and København and Inter…
    He lacks even the most basic managerskills,
    Woy is a total dissaster!

    You better walk alone Roy

  9. Kenny says:

    Liverpool are the best losers in the Premiership.

    The players r bad as r their their managers!

    They have the slackest players n performances.

    Gerrard if he wants to win the Premiership once in his life has to go to Chelsea, no other options!

    anyway the weak liverpool team is doomed 4ever

    1. daboy says:

      What do you mean by best losers? if you are a Liverpool fan which i doubt then f###off back to Chelsea.

      1. Kenny says:

        Best losers means if you have five potential losing teams then the most sure to lose among them is Liverpool! even if someone has to pick a random loser among a few its still Liverpool!

        You know what is meant by lifting Premiership cup? the only way to do it is to play in a team which can win it in the first place, so thats why Gerrard should go to Chelsea so that he can say in his biography that he has won all the cups in his career especially the most important cup ………….. hope you understand now.

        I pity the liverpudlians since some twenty years back!

  10. the voice says:

    having just watched the stoke match and been at the wigan match midweek and previous matches i am now convinced that woy is NO WAY GOOD ENOUGH FOR LFC he is more negative than rafa in setting out not too lose ,his team structure allows no flexibility in it is narrower than a pencil and the players just dont seem to understand that his way is not gonna work no matter what and yet they back him ,they should know by now that the way he sets them up is not gonna work for the type of players we have at the club , there are more than a few players who are not LFC standard yet the stupid man continues to play them,
    earlier this week woy stated that rafa was yesterdays man ,

    1. ed says:

      Absoulutely spot on observation,Hodgson must be sacked now by John Henry and any players who wish to continue playing in a souless,passionless,gutless manner as they have done most of the season ,should be cut loose in Jan.Too many overpaid,under performing players,Chelsea result almost seems like a fluke result now.SOOO DISSAPOINTED LFC FAN OF YEARS.

  11. Jack says:

    Even after the Chelsea result I still wanted him to leave. The longer Hodgson is the manager the greater the possibility of our best players leaving and Liverpool staying in table or worse.

  12. redjonjo says:

    Just after watching the Stoke game, what has happened to Liverpool, do we blame the players or manager, Roy stood on that line like a stuffed dumbie, it is time we fans said enought is enough, get rid of Roy and any team players who are not worth their wages Liverpool today slipped back not just in the table, also on the pitch how long do we have pay the price of having a prat in charge roy just pack your bags and go back down south

  13. redjonjo says:

    Yes you are right Gaz we should all get behind the
    manager and push him on the next bus going south that was a shambles

  14. hadi eskander says:

    i sayed this first time when he come to be our club manger he is not a lfc manger i realy don’t think he wil never ever make lfc fans happy pleas just go an go we can play beter any team with out go go go now

  15. Sid says:

    i had enough of his poor results. He must must go now before its too late.

  16. Pele says:

    I have to agree with a lot of the comments posted above. Just to add to the general wave of emotion, whilst Liverpool don’t have the best team in the league, with the way the season has panned out thus far, if this team had been playing to its potential, Liverpool would be sitting in the top 6, may be even top 4, by now. I believe Hodgson has to go if we are to become a more creative team – unfortunately, he has influence over transfers and tactics.

  17. Redsmail says:

    Is it only me but Roy seems so pre-occupied with finding a striker and yet we dont have a midfield, Gerrard apart, with any creativity. There needs to be width. Skrtel is an accident waiting to happen in the penalty area. Hodgson didnt have the guts to keep playing Kelly leaving Carra in the centre. Maxi is a right midfielder playing on the left, Meireles is a central midfielder playing on the right. :Look at his 4 main signings. Konchesky (skinned consistently day and N’Zogbia on Wednesday) and Poulsen (need I say more) aren’t close to being good enough, Poulsen being the worst ever Reds player I have seen. Our tactics are appalling. We only ever get Torres in the box, we dont have the guts to pack the box. We are just a very average team now. He has to go.

    1. Pele says:

      Apparently, Hodgson claimed that injury to Torres in the second half blighted Liverpool’s chances. He’s probably forgotten, like all the media, that a team requires 11 players playing in their best positions to the best of their ability. Also, that football is played over 90 minutes. Everything happens through the midfield, get that sorted and Liverpool will automatically improve. Defeat is one thing, but the manner of the defeat was disheartening.

      1. Kenny says:

        Exactly I fully agree with the comments that when liverpool loses it is not by chance or by any other explanations, it is only and only by playing idiot or cartoon playing.it is always comic their football.

        They are damn weak thats why they lose everytime.

        See Man Utd also loses but not in the way liverpool does. How many matches has liverpool won after trailing down in the first half e.g rarely but Utd always!!!!!!!!!!

  18. ken says:

    hope the owners look at what we earn ,what we pay to go the match,then they will get what liverpool fc means to the fans,they need to get roy out now and give the fans some respect ,get a manager who can take us forward .if roy had 300mil to spend his coaching and tactics will not change and thats what lets us down

  19. Alfie says:

    I blame the board for appointing Hodgson as Benitez said they know nothing about football. I wish we still had Benitez but we turned down Pellegrini because of his poor english. Since Benitez had to learn english when he came how is that sensible.
    The days of us winning everything with a British team are gone. Its all international now. If there is a Great British manager fine but if not lets not go all little Englander Not choosing Pellegrinni looks like an epic miss.

  20. Alan says:

    My comment above is proven more and more after todays result.

    Carragher is a disgrace as well, called the fans pricks who were lambasting Roy as he walked down the tunnel. Roy kept his head down because he is a gutless manager and out of his depth. Get Roy out firstly and then Carragher because the cunt has got to big for boots, very convenient he got a two year contract on the morning of the takeover….

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