Saturday 16 December 2017

Liverpool sack Hodgson as King Kenny returns

Kenny Dalglish manager of Liverpool screams to the fans during the 1989 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Everton. Photo: Getty Images
Kenny Dalglish manager of Liverpool screams to the fans during the 1989 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Everton. Photo: Getty Images

Dion Fanning

Roy Hodgson was finally removed as Liverpool manager yesterday. The club owners FSG acted after a strange period of inactivity in the days following Liverpool's latest defeat, away at Blackburn last Wednesday.

"Both parties thought it in the best interests of the club that he stand down," said American co-owner John W Henry in a statement on the club's website. Hodgson was no longer the lightning rod for supporters' dissatisfaction and the longer he remained in the job, the more questions were being asked about the Americans and their plans for the club. Hodgson could not continue if the owners were to be credible.

On Friday, Hodgson's weekly press conference was cancelled at short notice and that night rumours began to circulate that Hodgson would not be manager for this afternoon's FA Cup third round game against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Yesterday's training at Liverpool was delayed so that Hodgson could depart.

Kenny Dalglish cut short his holiday and will be in the dug-out today. His last match as Liverpool manager was another FA Cup game at the home of another rival, a replay against Everton at Goodison Park, 20 years ago.

He returns as manager until the summer when Liverpool will look to make a long-term appointment.

"We are delighted that Kenny Dalglish has agreed to step in and manage the team for Sunday's FA Cup tie at Old Trafford and for the remainder of the season," Henry added.

"Kenny was not just a legendary footballer, he was the third of our three most successful managers -- three giants. We are extraordinarily fortunate and grateful that he has decided to step in during the middle of this season."

Hodgson's dismissal brings to an end a desperate time as Liverpool's manager.

Appointed by the old regime last summer, he never endeared himself to the Liverpool supporters who chanted for Dalglish for the first time in October when Liverpool lost at home to Blackpool.

"Being asked to manage Liverpool Football Club was a great privilege," Hodgson said in an official statement.

"Any manager would be honoured to manage a club with such an incredible history, such embedded tradition and such an amazing set of fans. Liverpool is one of the great clubs in world football. I have, however, found the last few months some of the most challenging of my career."

Hodgson expressed his regret that he would not be able to work on rebuilding the squad but even if he had stayed, he would have been marginalised in that process.

Dalglish will hope to inspire the players but he will at least unite the supporters, something Hodgson managed to do as well, but in a way that undermined the team.

"I thank those with whom I have built up a close working relationship at the club for their loyalty and support during very testing times," Hodgson said. "And finally of course to the Liverpool fans, your passion and dedication to the club will see Liverpool at the top of the game once more."

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