Oh dear. It just gets worse and worse and worse for Liverpool at the moment. Not only have they played badly this season, (even in their sole victory: 1-0 at home to newly-promoted West Brom) they haven’t been picking up the results. Yesterday’s 2-1 home loss to Blackpool, however, really is a new low.
So how is Roy Hodgson coping? Accusations have been levelled at him that his footballing philosophy doesn’t translate to the quality of player Liverpool have at their disposal. Woy, naturally, disagrees:
“Unbelievable. How many clubs have I had in 35 years? What do you mean, do my methods translate? They translated from Halmstads to Malmo to Orebro to Neuchâtel Xamax to the Swiss national team. The question is quite frankly insulting, I suppose. That question is suggesting something. To suggest that suddenly because you move from one club to another, the methods that have stood you in good stead for 35 years and made you one of the most respected coaches in the Europe suddenly do not work. I find it very, very hard to believe that someone has even asked me that question.”
Hmm. First thing to note, is that Woy sounds ever so slightly agitated here, suggesting that the pressure might be getting to him. Feeling under pressure by early October isn’t exactly a good sign. Another thing, and I’d like to avoid using the phrase ‘get with the times, man’, but the fact that Hodgson is employing the same tactics as he did 35 years ago is hardly encouraging. Football’s an ever-changing game: Fabio Capello’s rigid 4-4-2 could have won England the World Cup 40 years ago, but it was an embarrassment in 2010.
Hodgson does at least appreciate that his side have to set realistic targets: Steven Gerrard and Pepe Reina have already stated that challenging for the title is an unrealistic goal for this season.
“Expectations are very high. You cannot live in a dream world of how wonderful it would be if every time one of our players got the ball, he raced past four defenders and smashed it into the net. That would be living in a fantasy world. That is not going to happen in plenty of games in Europe and the Premier League. I would accuse you of being unrealistic if you are suggesting we should doing what Arsenal, who have had the same team for the last six years, and Chelsea, who have just won the league, are doing. We finished seventh last season. I don’t understand why you are suggesting we should be comparing ourselves every day with Chelsea or Manchester United at this early stage of the season.”
At the same time though, and I realize they’ve lost Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano since, but Liverpool came second in 2008-09, so is it that outrageous that they should aspire to something more than merely avoiding collapse? Although at this rate, avoiding collapse is looking a little ambitious.
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