View from the Kop

Another Example of How Roy Got It So Wrong


Before Hodgson starts his managerial campaign at the Hawthorns in earnest, I want to revisit one last time, the topic of his time at Liverpool.

I read this week that Roy Hodgson should receive some credit, at least, for the signing of Raul Meireles. It appears that despite his poor record, both in collecting points and playing attractive football, Roy’s legacy at Liverpool could be defined through the Portuguese player. The midfielder has scored 5 times in his last six games since Hodgson left. If Meireles goes on to become a great player, Hodgson will have to take the plaudits. His goals have pleased those in defence of Hodgson, who have criticised the Liverpool team as a whole, saying that the players have been good enough all along, but just not been up for it.

I disagree with this on two levels. Firstly I think a manager’s job in the modern game is just as much about motivation as it is about tactics, and secondly, Hodgson played Meireles out of position.

I have always been a fan of Hodgson, I think he is dignified and should be respected for a long and successful career, but I just don’t think the style of football that he was insistent on, was suited to Liverpool.

He did well at Fulham, building his side around a solid defence. But teams would go to Fulham and try to win, consequently leaving themselves more exposed and open for Fulham to score. But against Liverpool, opposing teams expectations were lower. The majority of teams are happy to draw with Liverpool, home and away, so sit back and play them on the counter, or look to defend. This was something that Hodgson proved himself unable to cope with.

Since Dalglish has arrived, he has allowed Meireles to play a more offensive role. Firstly this lets the player, who has great technique (evidenced by his string of volleys), get into goal scoring positions. Secondly it gives Lucas a more defined role. Before Lucas was one of two deep, holding midfielders, he is now on his own. In this new system, Lucas seems surer of his defensive duties and attacking limitations, he knows what is expected of him. When both central midfielders sat back it seemed that neither was sure who’s turn it was to attack or defend.

Benitez saw great success with this tactics where he had top class players in Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alosno. Once he lost Xabi, neither Lucas nor Aquilani filled this role effectively. This is part of the reason his side failed to succeed and he was sacked. Hodgson, to his own detriment, tried to replicate Benitez’s failed tactics, but since Xabi Alonso and Mascherano had already left the club, he had no chance.

Sad as I am to say it, it seems Dalglish is more in touch of what positions and roles to play the Liverpool players in. But not only does he get the best out of them tactically, he also seems to be able to motivate them in a way that Hodgson could not. You only have to look at some of the most successful managers around, see the relationships they have with their players, to believe how important being a motivator is in a modern manager. That is why Avram Grant, despite all of his tactical knowledge has been unsuccessful at Portsmouth and now West Ham, it is also one of the reasons that Holloway, and at the other end of the spectrum Mourinho, have been so good. Tactics are one thing but motivation is equally important, especially at somewhere with expectations like that of Anfield. Rather than Meireles being a beacon of what Hodgson achieved at Anfield, he will remain as a reminder of Hodgson’s tactical flaws and lack of motivational ability.

Despite his failure at Liverpool, it is too soon to write off Hodgson as a manager, or ‘head coach’ for that matter. He can still be a great coach at WBA and his organisation of the defence would no doubt do them wonders. I hope he keeps WBA up, which won’t be an easy task, but it is a good thing for Liverpool that he has left.

The top article was written by Joe Austin for FootballFancast.com. Make sure to check out the latest news, blogs and podcasts at FFC – ed.

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  • Jane says:

    ‘Sad as I am to say it, it seems Dalglish is more in touch of what positions and roles to play the Liverpool players in.’

    What a strange thing to say. Why should you be so sad that Dalglish is successful at a club he loves?

    • Joe says:

      took the words right out of my mouth!

    • Grayman says:

      It’d be good to get an answer wouldn’t it.


      • Daz says:

        @Jane, Joe, & Grayman.
        You have ALL taken out of context the meaning of the word “sad” in the way it was phrased, & read it almost literally.
        The way in which it’s written in NO way knocks Kenny, but instead highlight’s Roy’s flaws. The implication is that it’s sad to say that Kenny has acknolwedged where players’ strengths are, & that for a coach of Roy’s capabilities he could not.

  • nik gresham says:

    Sending Aquilani away was the biggest mistake. Not gettiing a striker was another. thats history though so let him get on with his job and Kenny get on with his .

  • Blindside says:

    Let it go for Gods’s sake!!

  • Brand0 says:

    Rubbish article – if players getting paid tens of thousands per week need to be motivated, then we are in big trouble. It wasn’t motivation but tactics which was our problem under Hodgson. Nonetheless, the players still take the blame for either not knowing how to play them, or being too spoilt to play a system they didn’t like.

    Also, Hodgson beat Chelsea too, don’t forget, and this wasn’t during their bad run. We should have beaten Arsenal in the opening game too. It’s very easy to critise the way the author has here – just ask any Sun journalist.

    Oh, and by the way, Johnson has been played out of position throughout Liverpool run of form, so how is that explained author.

    If anything, Hodgson wasn’t intrinsically Liverpool enough to relay the confidence in the Liverbird and it’s history. And he lacked that swagger that Kenny is showing, as did Rafa.

    • Stringy says:

      The article is pretty accurate, apart from the odd sad to see Dalgish comment queried earlier…

      just because someone gets paid a lot of money, if you are working for someone who seems incapable of doing the job and inspires no confidence in what you are trying to achieve, it can soon demotivate any member of staff and when things are not going wellthis only makes the situation worse.

      what Kenny has done on his return is get that balance of both tactically more aware, by playing players in positions where he is getting the most from him and he is certainly inspiring the players to perform, because he understands his aims and ambitions and can obviously articulate this to the players.

      And it is obvious to anyone who has seen the change in his 9 games in charge, that the same set of players look an entirely different unit under Kenny…and that is perhaps the most Damning indictment of Hodgsons time at the club and an example of what happens when someone is promoted above their level of competence

    • jeff jefferson says:

      “And he lacked that swagger that Kenny is showing, as did Rafa”

      Rafa did great things for LFC. Open your eyes, you clown shoe.

  • Karim says:

    after last night we desperately need pace in the team! It was so pedastrian at times against a team who havent played a competitive game for 12 weeks!

    I expect us to be much better at Anfield, score early and then rack up a cricket score, they are there for the taking.

    Id also let Pacheco play instead of Maxi and push Kuyt alongside Ngog to help him out!


    Jones, Gerrard, Maxi, Skrtel, Coady, Sterling & Spearing on the bench.

    • Stringy says:

      Ngog’s performance last night showed that he is incapable of playing up front on his own…and yes the addition of Kuyt next to him will help.

      ultimately though Ngog is not good enough IMHO

      • Jay Wright says:

        Kuyt’s performance last night showed that he is incapable of playing up front on his own… or providing support from a deeper position either…

        Ultimately, Kuyt is just not good enough imho

        • Martin says:

          Totally agree… Every time Kuyt got the ball he lost it, he has no pace and is not technically gifted. All he offered was a great engine but Liverpool need players with more than that.

  • Brian says:

    when did raul mereiles grow that beautiful mop of hair?

  • Bekim says:

    Thank God he’s gone. It would be nice to forget that he’s ever been manager of our club. Rubbish at everything apart for the english media. Nobody can do a better job than me he said with the players that Rafa left. What a clown. 36 years of experience and the biggest award (LMA) that any manager can get.I feel sorry for Albion fans. The crap they gone have to watch now.

  • Eugene says:

    We have moved on. It’s not about what what Rafa or Hodgson did or didn’t do. It’s not about what the previous owners did or wanted to take from the club.

    Get behind the club. Trust in the new owners. Support Kenny and the players, trust in the introduction of the youth players coming through.

    Brighter times are ahead for Liverpool.

  • Karl says:

    You guys are ignorant to what Rafa was all about, had he been afforded the money needed like the extra 3-4 mil to sign daniel alves or the desire to get maluda or simao or any off the 20 1st choice players instead of having to settle for pennant arbeloa etc our team would be at the summit years ago. but alas he wasn’t. Hogson was a joke poor tactics shocking teams I sometimes wonder if he picked the team or just arrived and said who wants to play? There was no sign off football!

    Even without spending £250 mil and still a Rafa based team we are playing football their first touch is better ball retention is great and triangles how I love you!!!! Can this be just down to Kenny? He takes the plaudits but I believe a large slice of this is Steve Clark (anyone notice how poor we were when Rafa’s 2nd in command left I forget his name but the team fell away).

    Even if the results take a little While to come I’m so proud to watch this team play football, I hope we dont go back to the hit and hope hogson ever again.

  • darren says:

    For f*** sake get rid of ngog sell him killim bury im anything just get rid he a good championship player

  • KMB says:

    I am not convinced Mereiles was a Hodgson signing…i bet Rafa had identified him as a potential signing a long time prior to leaving and Hodgson simply followed through on buying him…probably wasn’t even him – was probably Purslow or some one else at the club who simply informed Woy that Raul is someone we have been watching and that we are in the process of signing…

    The fact that Hodgson’s other signings included Poulsen, Cole and Konchesky, i would be very surprised if Raul was really Hodgson’s choice.

    And note – he played him on the wing in most games…didn’t even know where to play him.

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