Wednesday 17 January 2018

Axe hovers over Hodgson as Reds cave in

Blackburn 3
Liverpool 1

The last time Roy Hodgson lost his job following a defeat at Ewood Park, his fate was sealed with a tap on the shoulder from Jack Walker and a club statement hastily-scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet.

Liverpool's tormented manager was spared a similar personal touch from his masters at the Fenway Sports Group in Boston last night, but if he survives another day at Anfield, it might just be up there with the miracle of Istanbul.

Few managers can have suffered the misfortune of twice losing their job at the same ground, but on an evening when his players deserted him and the club's supporters called for him to be sacked, can Hodgson really expect to survive in his position long enough for him to be in charge for the FA Cup tie at Manchester United on Sunday?

Not judging by last night's press conference when Hodgson walked out after just three questions and refused to answer questions about his future.

"I am not prepared to talk about that because obviously I am depressed enough with the performance and the result," said the 63-year-old. "I have no comments to make and I have no intention to answer any questions on the subject."

Two goals from Benjani and one from Martin Olsson sealed Liverpool's fate long before Steven Gerrard's late consolation, but Blackburn also sealed Hodgson's. Liverpool's victory against Bolton at Anfield on New Year's Day secured precious breathing space for Hodgson but each fixture now has suffocating pressure for Hodgson.

The Liverpool malaise even extended to the travelling contingent in Ewood Park's Darwen End, where numerous empty seats were visible.

Many of them left the ground once Benjani's 37th minute goal had put Blackburn 2-0 ahead following Martin Olsson's opener, six minutes earlier.

With their team trailing and Blackburn fans taunting their former manager Hodgson with chants of "You're getting sacked in the morning!" the end result appeared blindingly predictable.

The away fans then joined in the chorus and once Benjani made it 3-0 at the near post on 58 minutes, following hopeless defending by Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel against the pacy Junior Hoilett, the Liverpool fans vented their full fury on Hodgson.

Chants of "Dalglish" came first, followed by the one which will have been heard across the Atlantic in Boston. Gerrard's strike from 10 yards, reduced the deficit, but the game had already been lost. There was one final glimmer of hope when Michel Salgado tripped Gerrard in the 86th minute. However, the Liverpool captain blasted his spot-kick over the bar.

Perhaps, had he succeeded, it could have been a late attempt to save Hodgson. Unfortunately, it was doomed to failure. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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