Money problems over, but are LFC still lacking ambition?

Roy Hodgson has passed comment on reports linking Pepe Reina to Manchester United. He said Liverpool don’t need the money and don’t want to sell, a situation that he says also applies with Fernando Torres.

What he failed to discuss were the claims that have grown in recent days – that Torres and Reina are disillusioned with their manager, his coaching and his tactics. That the likelihood of them leaving hinges more on their own personal satisfaction with the club’s future direction than on any interest from other clubs or on Liverpool’s financial situation.

Despite a far better performance on Sunday against Blackburn, Hodgson is still some way short of meeting the expectations of most supporters. He’s only managed to get two wins out of the first quarter of the league season, Liverpool are languishing in the relegation places with negative goal difference and Roy is acting like it’s a minor setback.

Everyone has their own opinion and their own perceptions, but short of quoting another clause from the unwritten “Liverpool Way”, the one where Liverpool always give their managers time and patience, it’s difficult to find anyone amongst the support who can put a good case forward for him to stay.

A clause of another kind has got fans talking today after a story in the Daily Mirror claimed two of the club’s most important players had “secret” clauses added to their contracts last summer to help reassure them about the club’s future.

For many fans the story seems to be, to put it politely, stretching things a little. As a result many fans are dismissing every word. But is it right to sit back and relax? Or does that overused saying about there being no smoke without fire ring true?

Rumours are becoming tiresome for many, but they’re an unavoidable part of life for a football supporter these days. Under normal circumstances they’re a bit of fun – being linked to players that you know your club will never buy is part of the fun of the quiet months over summer. Except when it’s an awful player you hope they won’t buy but get that awful feeling they will.

It’s also not much fun when the rumours are about our best players going elsewhere. It used to be Barnes or Fowler on the day of a big game, and we all laughed at the predictability of the timing.

Maybe we should be laughing now, but when Reina and Torres are yet again linked with possible departures – and we’ve no big game in sight – we should at least pay attention to the underlying theme.

There was a lot of noise early last week about Torres being fed up with Roy’s tactics and Reina being tired of new coaching methods. This noise was coming from far too many directions to not have some foundation to it. It wasn’t only coming out of the media.

Most fans know full well that for Fernando Torres or Pepe Reina to move to Manchester United a lot more has to be overcome than LFC wanting to sell and Manchester United finding the funds. Neither player is likely to entertain any interest from the club’s most-hated rivals.

Reina got attention from Arsenal in the summer, the London side bidding a massive amount for him according to reports. He’s arguably the most vital signing former manager Rafael Benítez made whilst manager of the club; good goalkeepers capable of living with the slightly different level of protection afforded by Premier League referees are hard to find.

Reina is worth more to Liverpool than any transfer fee. And a fully-firing Fernando Torres isn’t far off priceless either.

Last week Hodgson said he’d “have to cross that bridge when we come to it” when asked about rumours Manchester United were interested in buying Torres. It hardly sent out any kind of warning to Hodgson’s old friend Alex Ferguson.

Now he has been asked about the story Reina could be going to United: “It was just one of those stories that seems to occur. It’s just disappointing and annoying.”

And he had plenty of praise for the keeper: “Pepe is fantastic here. He is a life-blood of this team.

“Everything he does around the club is excellent – he is always lively in the dressing room, he is always first class in training and he always wants to do more to improve.” Perhaps Hodgson was acknowledging the gripes Reina was said to have had about the methods being used by the goalkeeping coach brought to the club by Hodgson.

“He demands better from those around him, he is always pushing people on. He is a player who we hold in the highest esteem.”

As for the rumours about joining one of the club’s biggest rivals: “We have heard nothing from Manchester United and, more to the point, we don’t want to hear anything from Manchester United.

“If Ferguson is looking around at the end of the season and he has got lots of money to replace van der Sar he might very well want Pepe Reina because he is the best around. But we do not want to sell him.”

Hodgson inherited a squad that had few changes from the one that finished second in 2009, but he has been defended by his allies as having inherited a squad bad enough to make the club’s current predicament seem almost reasonable. Since Roy arrived as manager expectations of a league challenge are all but forgotten.

Liverpool fans want the club to be successful again, and for that to happen the key players must stay. At least Roy sees that: “I would like to think that we are going to become a successful club once again and Pepe is crucial to that.”

But supporters, on the whole, do not see Roy Hodgson as the man to take them back to the heights they feel their club should be at. It was the desire to see the club hit those heights that, many years ago, led to the club being put up for sale in the first place. The owners who came here under false pretences are gone, but fans have the same desire.

Hodgson seems to be a long way short of understanding that desire from supporters. And it’s not just the fans, it’s most of the players.

And what Roy also seems unable to grasp is that nobody thinks it’s Liverpool looking to sell: “We want to promise the players we have got here that we are going to be up there fighting once again and we are absolutely not looking to sell any of our better players.”

And what Roy also seems unable to grasp is nobody would be surprised if other clubs were interested in our players: “But, equally, I would also be disappointed if teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and all the teams with money were not looking at our players.”

We know this – it’s stories that our players are fed up and looking to leave that we’re reading about. And we’re still reading it despite the end of the financial problems the club faced when Hodgson arrived.

And during those problems many of our best players made it clear time and time again that they want to win things. The fact Liverpool don’t need the money or that other clubs might come looking is not something the players want to hear about. They want to hear the club has some ambition, that the club wants to bring the good days back.

“If I was Fernando Torres,” Roy continued, “I would expect every top club in Europe to be chasing me. That’s good as it means he’s doing his job. But we don’t need the money and we don’t want to sell.”

Why the focus on finances from Roy? Surely we’ve moved on now, we’ve got new owners who will work out a plan to fund improvements in the squad in a way that suits the financial abilities of the club.

What Roy needs to focus on now is the other reasons that we’re even discussing the chances of those key players leaving. Because it’s got nothing to do with money.

And if Roy can’t see it, we can only hope that the new owners NESV can.

26 thoughts on “Money problems over, but are LFC still lacking ambition?”

  1. I was concerned that Roy wasn’t up to the job and wouldn’t keep the stars names happy when he was appointed. The last few weeks have done nothing to suggest that I was wrong to doubt him. Nonetheless, I think we need to give him a few more matches. If we’re not significantl better (in league position and in performance) by the end of Nov, then fair dues, it’s time to cut him loose. But until then I think we need to keep the faith. YNWA.

  2. My Problem is that if we don’t put in a creditable challenge for 4th this season, then it really really really is back to the drawing board and i feel breaking the entire squad up and starting on a massive rebuild….I have no problem with Torres or Reina leaving because another season of maybe Europa shite and Hodgson (you must be joking!!).


  3. I have heard LFC fans from all quarters in the last month taking their frustrations out on Roy Hodgson. Unfortunately I am in a minority who thinks that Roy deserves to see out (at the very least) 1year of his 3year contract. From what I read he is an intellectual manager who has certain ways of doing things. One of the main reasons why it hasn’t gone so well for Liverpool is simply because his methodologies will take time to work – and patience is the key! (just look at the Blackburn game) I think it is naïve for people to think that he can work wonders in 10games… he is building a solid foundation and we should acknowledge this. At Fulham he resurrected the fortunes of Zamora, Gera and Duff (and Murphy) and here you can see the same with Kyriarkos and Lucas. He also has an eye for a player, look at Hangeland! It is fickle for fans to think that one sacking will make things better… they wont! If we take this path then we will end up like Spurs, Man City, Aston Villa etc… Continuity is the key and I (for one) am willing to wait.

  4. Roy doesnt get it. I am fed up with the man. I think he is wary of his friendship with Ferguson, so that seem to be more important than Liverpool FC.

    Ferguson accused Torres of trying to get a Man U sent off, Roy didnt not defend Torres.

    Roy was almost invited Man U to bid for Torres during the issue of Rooney not signing a new contract.


  5. I find the most disturbing fact at Liverpool Football Club is Roy Hodgson considers Lucas to be suitable enough, as a footballer, to play for the team. This is a continuence of the thoughts of Rafa Benitez, and, as I have said, very disturbing.

    It is not the fault of Lucas that he is not good enough, it is a very apparent fact, and the main contribution to the shocking peformances of LFC over the period that Lucas has appeared. I met up with a former Liverpool midfielder two years back, whilst visiting Liverpool, the subject of Lucas arose, the former player stated, without hesitation, that, ‘the boy hasn’t got it, has he’? Any manager who considers Lucas good enough to play for LFC, is, I’m afraid ignorant of the game of football. I wrote a recorded delivery letter to Roy Hodgson during the second week of the start of the season, giving my thoughts on certain aspects of what I was witnessing with LFC, and my prophesies for the coming two months, they have all turned out to be true!
    Whether, or not Roy Hodgson read my letter, I shall never know, I received a response from the ‘Managers Office’ at Heath Road, Allerton?? it said, ‘THANK YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTS, WE ALL AGREE WITH YOUR DEISRE FOR THE SUCESS OF LFC !!!!!! If I still lived in Liverpool, I would have made an attempt to give Roy Hodgson my thoughts personally. If Lucas plays again, forget any hope that LFC will turn it around under Roy Hodgson, never a chance with Lucas in the team, plus Carragher is past his sell by date, and one or two others need to shape up, or ship out. I do not hold much hope for any revival, especially when Roy brings in his mate Mike Kelly at 69 years of age, who has as much pedigree as I do. God help us.

  6. Great Article Jim! I still think Hodgson is out of his depth as our manager, and I think if he is allowed to continue I seriously am concerned about our future prospects.

    He alienates players, the likes of Agger, Babel, Pacheco! Give the lads a try Roy, it couldn’t be any worse than your team selection at the moment. We as Liverpool fans are clued-up on our football and capable of noting grave tactical errors. And it seems that he is making one mistake after another. It seems to me that he would rather set up his team not to lose, rather than go out to win. That is not the football way and that is definitely not the Liverpool way.

    Its not only his playing style, the man has the demeanor of a rabbit caught in the headlights! If you are physically and mentally unable to motivate your players and enforce a reaction, then you have no right to call yourself a top class manger! Your players should go out there and play for you like they do for SAF and Jose Mourinho!

    I personally don’t think Torres will leave immediately, but I think a major part of that decision depends on what Liverpool set out to do by January.

    If by January, we have finally rid the club of the clueless Hodgson, appointed a manager that matches the ambition at Liverpool. Somebody like Pelligrini or Rjikaard! Then allow the manager to make a few quality signings that aren’t like Konchesky or Poulson! I feel we have a great chance to redeem some pride and slowly we will start to climb up the table where Liverpool deserve to be.

    Against better opposition Hodgson’s tactics will not win us games and he is definitely not the caliber of manger we need to take us back into the Champions League. Could you imagine Hodgson pitting his wits against the tactical superiority of Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, to name but a few.

    In conclusion, a victory against a poor Blackburn side has not swayed my opinion in the slightest. Hodgson is still a mid-table manger, he is still tactically inept and he still does not have the necessary skills to handle the media with relation to LFC.

    With Hodgson as our manager, Liverpool will deteriorate into a mid-table/relegation candidate

    The first thing that should happen involves ‘Woy’ being relieved of his managerial duties by this weekend, this in turn will start a chain reaction that will finally allow the club to flourish and finally pushing for Champions League places!

    If he is allowed to remain we not only have to worry about Torres and Reina leaving us, I fear that Gerrard could also follow…..

    The ball is in your court Mr Henry…….

    Hodgson has to GO!

  7. I am one of Roy’s biggest critics because in my opinion he should never have been given the job in the 1st place. As frustrated as I am, I don’t think the new owners are going to make any radical changes this early into their ownership so I guess Roy will be given until the end of the season – with that in mind I am going to relent from slagging him and look at the positives.

    The football that we played on Sat should be the bench mark, fluid passing and moving, midfielders piling forward to support the attack, players pressing the ball when not in possession – if Roy sticks with that he may start winning people over.

    We are not a million miles away from 4th place and a couple of wins on the bounce will see us climbing up the table. If we cannot put a run together in the next few games then we can write the season off, get rid of Roy and start building for next season.

    The signings of Poulsen and Konchesky are poor but I can understand why he signed them. Insua was our weak link last season yet suddenly people are remembering him as if he was Roberto Carlos – he wasn’t and therefore Konchesky a proven Premiership player used to Roys methods was brought in to shore up the left side. As we are being linked with left backs I can only summize that this was a quick fix to keep us going until the ownership saga was resolved and that we had the money to buy a decent left back.

    Poulsen was brough in to put pressure or possibly to replace Lucas. Again Lucas was ridiculed by the majority of our supporters and most fans wanted him out of the side. It’s to his credit that he has improved this season and is now a regular in the Brazil side and has started playing more expansively – could this be something to do with Roy?

    I like the way that we went about our business in buying Mereiles – no rumours or press leaks the 1st we knew that we were signing him was when he pulled up at Liverpool airport. I think he will prove to be a great signing and is aleady showing that he has what it takes to play in the Premiership. If this is the calibre of player Roy is going to sign when he has money available I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    The start of this season has been a disaster but over the past week we have shown signs of improvement and the doom and gloom has been lifted since the takeover. There are no excuses anymore and the ball is firmly in Roy Hodgsons court – can he progress and build on this change in mood or will he prove to all us doubters that the job is too big for him……………………..over to you Roy!!


  9. I agree with this piece that RH is not suitable for the Liverpool job. In terms of defending the players, in terms of the words that he chooses to use with the media. Also in terms of the players that he brought in. Swapping Insua for Konchesky was hardly a wise decision, and Brad Jones I doubt will even start a single Premier League game. Bringing in Poulsen was a bad decision as well, due to his lack of pace and age. However, Joe Cole and Meireles do look to be quite good additions, so there were some decent moves. But overall it just didn’t work out very well.

    I don’t think that we should see out the whole season with Hodgson. He was brought in merely as a stopgap once Rafa was removed. The relative success he achieved at Fulham does not translate to LFC as the club’s vision and mentality is much farther ahead. And if we do keep him for the rest of the year, what position do we see ourselves occupying? Surely even the Europa League would not be in touching distance.

    Ambition is measured as well in how the reserves and youngsters are blooded into the game. Openly calling them your “B-Team” is demeaning and implies a lack of faith and reeks of a short term, instant gratification style of priorities. RH’s supposed rift with Agger is also an issue. You don’t isolate a high performer who is more than capable of filling Carra’s shoes.

    As for the commenter who is more tangentially concerned with Lucas? I’m sorry, but did you actually watch us against Blackburn? The partnership between Lucas and Meireles was a key factor in ensuring almost 70% possession throughout the entire match. His passing and reading of the game has also improved over the last couple of years. I encourage you to watch our team play without any pre-existing notions and conceits.

  10. I will say it again. LFC is too big for Roy. He may not be able to convince our leading players to stay and can’t even attract world class palyers to join Liverpool.

    Why are the owners so loyal to Roy?

  11. @ Pete
    I have to say he doesn’t appear that intelectual to me. He is no foorball mastermind, and to be honest I don’t think he is actually the ‘nice bloke’ that most people are willing to admit about him. He has appeared defensive, self-indulgent and overly-threatened when criticised; spine-less and defeatest most of the time; and actually pretty disingeneous. 4-4-2 thump-up-the-middle-of-the-park is NOT inteligent football, its typical, unsophisticated English fare (a bit like beans on toast). Our food is bland, and so is our football.

    One more name to add to the list of managers Woy would look rediculous next to in the CL: RAFA when he takes inter to the final next year.

  12. I think Graham Harris in the comments has got it right. I think all the s***e that comes out in the press is exactly that and I hate the way that we as fans add more crap to the bulls***. The “Liverpool Way” is to give people time and see what happens not to pander to individual players needs if – and I sincerely doubt this – there is any substance to those rumours. We have just gone through a protracted and difficult takeover and we now, it appears, have owners who are taking the long view and adopting the Arsenal model for future growth. Hear, hear I say! Based on this approach we should just all cool our jets, get behind the team and support the manager. Enough of the civil war already. It’s time to move on in an appropriate and dignified manner. p.s. Lucas is a good player worthy of the LFC shirt so please let’s stop the bashing. Even the BBC felt that he was excellent on Sunday and it isn’t often they back him. Joe Cole on the other hand…is he really worth all the hype? Let’s hope.

  13. “Maybe we should be laughing now, but when Reina and Torres are yet again linked with possible departures – and we’ve no big game in sight – we should at least pay attention to the underlying theme”.

    Yes Jim, the underlying theme is that Liverpool are down in the doldrums, and we all know what the press do to clubs and footballers that find themselves in that kind of position.

    We are eight points off an inconsistent Spurs side in fourth place, who incidentally, have Man United away at the weekend.

    I find it incredible the level of impatience towards Hodgson, who hasn’t had (and clearly will never have), ANYWHERE NEAR the level of patience that Rafa and Houllier enjoyed before him.

    I’m not saying he will be a success, I have my doubts in fact, but I think he deserves the same chance as those before him.

    I think the die hard Rafa fans, coupled with those who cannot accept that Broughton & Purslow could have done anything that would possibly benefit the club, will never afford Roy the time to prove them wrong.

    I just hope we win the next two games, because that may be all it takes to remove this negative attitude towards the club – from the fans and mischievious journalists alike.

  14. Just read back over my post Jim.

    Just to clarify – ‘mischievious journalists’ was a comment aimed at those who come up with the Torres / Reina escape clause story, not your good self!!!

  15. I am one of those who think that Roy Hodgson should resign or be stood down. The LFC job does truly appear to be above him in spite of him doing a good job at Fulham. When appointed he was described as a “safe pair of hands”, that to me, signified he was appointed until new owners came in and chose their higher ranking manager but that it could be Roy. However Roy in his on field tactics, trainers and training methods has not shown he is up to the job.

    Furthermore, the owners in restricting transfer cash to him, means they do not have confidence in his choices, which is understandable after the summer signings. It also appears that Kenny Dagliesh is doing the measuring of prospective signings, which also suggests where their confidence lies.

    Furthermore, if NESV do not make their intentions clear to the senior players by buying at least 1 senior player during January, then they risk loosing other senior players with the message that not much has changed, which is the writing on the wall at the present time.

    What and when we do about a stadium can waite until the playing squad is addressed.

  16. We definitely lack ambition when you see as constantly connected to players like: C.Cole, Doyle, Dann, Brunt, Harper etc. Who is scouting these players and does Roy really think they would be good enough players for a club who wants to win trophies?
    Im seriously p****d if we end up signing any of the calibre of those..we are not Fulham Roy.
    Maybe Reina and Torres knows something more about the way we’re heading,.,and won’t like it. Those are two best players we have and players who want to win things. They don’t want to be part of a second ”Arsenal policy” of investing on young players and waiting them to blossom year after year.
    NESV have said all the right things but now we wait their actions… They should invest heavily and that means atleast £50m in january. That give’s you the four-five quality players we need. After all it’s the final window before the financial fairplay rules comes to effect and they know it. Henry has even mentioned it.
    If they don’t invest, people start to ask questions. We should be worried when we hear journalists like Balague telling that Valencias Mata is out of Liverpool’s reach anyway because we don’t have enough money. Are we suddenly in the same position than with the former cowboys in charge or where he get’s this kind of knowledge. And the story run early this week by The Independent and Telegraph about Henry worried by over spending the past years and Roy splashing already £25m on signings this summer is just b******s. Whats their motives or is someone briefing them..?

  17. I think it’s imperative NESV address the concerns of our senior players and take actions to resolve them asap. If that means a change of manager then so be it. Whilst I’m not a fan of sacking a manager after such a short time Reina and Torres are far more important to the club than Roy.

    There are several high-quality managers available and given the start to our season I’d be amazed if Kenny or whoever isn’t drawing up a shortlist.

    The players would be greatly reassured by the signing of a quality player in January even though it isn’t the best window financially. Actions do speak louder than words.

    Last and not least we desperately need a CE . The club is virtually rudderless at the moment and that cannot continue. It’s been a quiet week from NESV. It’s time we heard some announcements.

  18. Mr Motivator is at it again.

    Roy Hodgson: “We have got a lot more expensive failures on our list than good players that we have brought in for next to nothing.”

  19. Some people on here keep talking about giving Roy more time and that is the “Liverpool Way”. But please excuse my irritation because, WE WERE NOT AT THE BOTTOM 3 OF THE TABLE AT THAT TIME! like we are at now! So patience for blatant incompetent buffoon is not a priority.

    The fact is Roy can’t get any team to win 5 – 7 games in a row. Now pay attention to that point! Wining games in a row(Please notem, Houllier had win streaks, So did Evans and Rafa!). Just look at his career statistics at the TOP LEVEL, Not Nordic leagues and small teams not at the top tier. He can’t muster this, Pellegrinni can and a few others can. Why I brought Pellegrinni in was he did this with Villareal, which this clown could not do with Fulham. Please for goodness sake get rid of him before it get even more dire. Don’t let the Blackburn result fool you.

    Look at the game and the players carefully not a single player looked at the bench during the game and even after they scored too. What does that say about the players and thier impression of the manager? I’m talking about the players that were here before Roy. Don’t talk about Carra, He loves Roy cause he is English and so on. Why did the players not look and listen to what Roy was telling them? Why? Cause they know he is a fool in thier eyes.

    Look at the way they played! They played last season’s and season’s before tactics. Even though it was a slip-shod mimicary of the tactics.

  20. We need the special one Jose and we need him now. No more clowning around. Twenty years of clueless managers is enough.

  21. Why the fug would Jose joins us??? Let’s be realistic we have not got a hope in hell of hm joining us and it irratates me when fans keep saying that we need Jose blah blah blah. There’s only one club that he’ll return to England for and that is as old purple faces replacement.

    The more I read about him the more I like Quiqe Flores from Athletico Madrid – if we’re looking for a young manager who’ll stay for 5/6 years and build a side I think he’d be ideal. If we are looking for a more ready made manager and looking for a quick fix I would bust the bank for Hiddink.

  22. The media and gullible supporters are big part to blame for this latest round of question marks. One day it’s “NESV will not splash out the cash” and the very next day it’s “NESV looks to speand big in January”.


  23. Roy seems to prove again and again that he is out of his depth at the club. When hes not doing it with the team on the field hes doing it while speaking with the press.

    I also get the impression that some fans who didnt support Benitez or had been calling for his head for a long while feel obliged to back Roy even though they know hes not the right man for the job.

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