Hodgson calm over Purslow departure

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson does not feel his position is under any greater threat now Christian Purslow, the man who helped appoint him, has left his role as managing director.

Purslow, who arrived in June 2009 tasked with finding new investment and then a new owner, announced earlier today he was standing down from his position.

He will remain as a non-executive director and an adviser to new owners New England Sports Ventures, who completed a £300m deal last week, but will no longer wield the power he once had.

Hodgson was asked whether he thought the departure of Purslow – seen as one of his key allies – would affect his own position, which has come under increasing scrutiny after a run of one win in eight matches left his side 19th in the Barclays Premier League.

“Not that I know,” was his response.

“But the fact is that is not a question for me to answer. I had no idea Christian was going to leave the club and I have no opinion on the subject. I came here to work with the football club and not with an individual of the club.

“I also believe my appointment was made after a lot of consideration, after looking at all the alternatives, and I was regarded by the team who made the decision as the best man for the job.

“I am happy about that and I am happy for that to carry on that way.

“I came to Liverpool because it was a great club and a great job and a great opportunity to build the club back up to its former glories.

“Certainly at the moment that doesn’t look like the case but it is early days and we still believe we can turn this around.

“It is a great honour to be manager of Liverpool. Obviously it would have been a happier time for me if we were winning every game and weren’t second-bottom of the table.”

Hodgson was also forced to defend his squad selection ahead of tomorrow’s tough Europa League Group K clash against Napoli in the Stadio San Paolo.

He has chosen to rest Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles and Lucas Leiva, while he is also without Glen Johnson (hamstring), Daniel Agger (illness) and Dirk Kuyt (ankle).

The 63-year-old admitted his decision was coloured by the fact the team were in desperate need of a win against Blackburn in the Premier League on Sunday.

“I was concerned that if players like Lucas Leiva and Raul Meireles were to play tomorrow it would be five matches in two weeks,” said Hodgson, who admitted it was a risk.

“And when it comes to Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres – two important players – we have an important league game on Sunday.

“For me it was, quite simply, a priority. After our very poor start to the season and bad results, if we had to make a sacrifice within the team in one game or another, in which game do you make it?

“I made the decision to make the sacrifice in this game because we need a win more badly on Sunday than we do tomorrow.

“I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where I played Gerrard and Torres and one of them got injured or were tired and our performance suffered.

“If we then lose tomorrow and people say we chose a weakened team because I prioritised Sunday over this game then I will hold my hands up and say they are right.”

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