Monday 19 March 2018

Hodgson in hiding as speculation continues

Defeat for Roy Hodgson at Blackburn on Wednesday may prove the final straw for the Liverpool hierarchy. Photo: Getty Images
Defeat for Roy Hodgson at Blackburn on Wednesday may prove the final straw for the Liverpool hierarchy. Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool spared under-pressure manager Roy Hodgson another testing examination by the media by cancelling his pre-match press conference.

The 63-year-old was due to give his weekly briefing at the club's Melwood training ground at 1.30pm today ahead of Sunday's FA Cup third round tie at Manchester United.

However, less than an hour and 45 minutes before his scheduled appearance the club announced Hodgson would not be speaking to the media.

Instead he will give an interview which will be published on the club's website and broadcast on their in-house television channel.

It spared the Reds boss having to answer what would have been a string of questions about his future, which has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks, and very few about the game against United.

Hodgson's position has come under increasing scrutiny after two defeats to Wolves and Blackburn in their last three Barclays Premier League matches.

After Wednesday's embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Rovers Hodgson's post-match press conference was cut short after just over two minutes duration and three questions.

On that occasion he was asked just one question about his future but faced the prospect of numerous enquiries on the subject at Melwood this afternoon.

With the club keen to focus on football matters and keep a lid on speculation about the manager's future the decision was made to cancel his press conference.

It is unlikely, however, to prevent further conjecture about the Reds boss in the coming days.

Liverpool's owners New England Sports Ventures have reportedly been looking at their possible options for a managerial change for over a week now.

They had intended to see out the season with Hodgson before reassessing the situation but recent results and the deteriorating relationship with fans and associated falling attendances have apparently prompted a rethink.

Neither principal owner John Henry nor chairman Tom Werner have offered any comment on the current situation at Anfield, although their failure to publicly back the manager has not helped Hodgson.

But, having survived the immediate aftermath of the embarrassment at Ewood Park it seems the Reds boss will still be in charge for Sunday's FA Cup tie against their arch-rivals.

Should Liverpool lose that it will leave them with just the Europa League to play for as they suffered a humiliating Carling Cup exit to League Two Northampton and are well off the pace for a top-four finish.

Press Association

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