The drama con­tin­ues

There are a few fac­tors that ex­on­er­ate Roy Hodg­son from the full blame for Liver­pool’s state of despair.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FOOTBALL - by NaNTHa KU­MaR

IT is that hand-on-the chin rou­tine that re­ally has Liver­pool sup­port­ers in high ran­kles and gives away the im­pres­sion that Roy Hodg­son is a man count­ing his mo­ments at An­field. Let us not take any­thing away from Ever­ton: they had the blaz­ing hunger and un­flinch­ing in­ten­tion to end their four-year wait for a league win over their Mersey­side neigh­bours.

As the me­dia and sup­port­ers launched into a witch-hunt, it is use­ful to ask whether Hodg­son should re­ally ac­cept the en­tire blame for the Reds’ ex­tremely bad state in the Premier­ship. His post-match ram­blings do not help – “I refuse to ac­cept that we were in any way out­played or any way in­fe­rior” is a choice cut – while his in­abil­ity to change the game from the dugout is a li­a­bil­ity.

But to un­load all of the team’s trou­bles onto his lap is to fla­grantly dis­play very poor judg­ment. Hodg­son must be held re­spon­si­ble for part of the prob­lem but not in its en­tirety. There are a few fac­tors that ex­on­er­ate the 63year-old from the blame and they run to the day Tom Hicks and Ge­orge Gil­lett made their com­mer­cial killing on English soil: sell­ing their bo­gus dream to the sup­port­ers.

The Ex-Boss:

It is fash­ion­able to blame the me­dia hob­by­horse Rafael Ben­itez for all the ills af­flict­ing the Reds. The fact is that six of his play­ers who started on Sun­day also spear­headed the clash at An­field against Ever­ton eight months ago. In that match they played with 10 men for close to an hour and yet man­aged a 1-0 win. Hodg­son still has the crux of the play­ers that fin­ished as run­ners-up in the league less than 18 months ago. The sup­port­ers and me­dia need to pon­der the same ques­tion that Ben­itez posed on Tues­day: what changed? If we bur­row fur­ther, it is dif­fi­cult not to see be­yond the cur­rent man­age­ment team as the point of the de­cline.

The Man­age­ment:

The move to oust Ben­itez has been at least two years in the mak­ing and cer­tainly hatched be­fore the ar­rival of Chris­tian Purslow (who stepped down as the club’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor two days ago) in June 2009. The re­moval of Ben­itez was one of the rare sub­jects that both Hicks and Gil­lett had agreed on and, as in­di­cated in his “white liq­uid in a bot­tle” in­vec­tive, had con­sumed Purslow too. A smooth op­er­a­tor in find­ing high-pow­ered al­lies at An­field and in the me­dia, Purslow promised to gain new in­vest­ment in the first quar­ter of 2010 and per­formed the task with such as­sur­ing skills that the club handed his brief to chair­man Martin Broughton 10 months later.

The Play­ers:

If Ben­itez had lost the con­fi­dence of his

Dead man walk­ing: Roy Hodg­son is the pic­ture of con­fu­sion these days.

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