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Liverpool problems mount for Roy Hodgson

last updated Tuesday 22nd June 2010, 9:02 AM
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson
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Kenny Dalglish will consider his future at Liverpool if they appoint Roy Hodgson as manager, with club officials having been made aware that their kingmaker is not supportive of the proposed coronation.

Hodgson, the odds-on favourite to succeed Rafael Benítez, is the favoured candidate of the Anfield hierarchy, despite not having won a trophy in English football. It has even been suggested that his expected move from Fulham could be completed by the end of this week.

But having informed the board of his opinion that he would be the right man for the job, Dalglish, 59, has made it abundantly clear that he feels he is a better candidate for the position than Hodgson, despite his longstanding friendship with the Fulham manager.

Should Liverpool not back Dalglish's judgment after giving him the task of spearheading their search for a new manager then they will run the risk of making his position untenable, less than a year after he returned to the club in a dual role combining ambassadorial duties with a post at the Liverpool Academy in Kirkby.

Dalglish enjoys immense popular support among the Liverpool fanbase because of his legendary status at the club he served with great success as player and manager.

A Times online survey has indicated that he is the man most Liverpool supporters would like to see replace Benítez, with 57.5 per cent of those who took part in the poll backing Dalglish. Hodgson, by contrast, attracted only 6.5 per cent of the vote, in keeping with the prevailing feeling at the club that he may have succeeded in gaining support from the board, but winning over the supporters is likely to be a more arduous task.

The Fulham manager does have some support in the Anfield dressing room, but it is by no means unanimous. While some see him as a safe pair of hands during a turbulent time in the club's history and admire the work he did in guiding Fulham to the Europa League final last season, others question his Premier League credentials. From being seen as the unity candidate, a man of dignity who is rarely caught up in controversy, Hodgson has suddenly become a cause of division at Anfield.

Should he accept the position of manager, he will do so in the knowledge that he faces not only a battle to turn around Liverpool's fortunes, but he will also have to confront the equally significant challenge of proving his doubters wrong.

There is growing concern that his appointment could lack credibility given that it would be made by a Liverpool board led by a chairman, Martin Broughton, who has already revealed that he will leave the club within months should the long search for new owners bear fruit, and a managing director, Christian Purslow, who continues to operate without a long-term contract, having been recruited primarily to attract much-needed investment.

One of the main reasons why Dalglish was invited to head the search for a new manager, alongside Purslow, was to lend the process a credibility it might otherwise have lacked.

But unless the Liverpool board can convince him that Hodgson is the best man for the job from all the available candidates, they could be threatened with the disaffection of one of the greatest servants in the club's history.

Source Tony Barrett at The Times
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