ROY HODGSON, the beleaguered Liverpool manager, surprised a post-match press conference with his claim that his team had performed well in their 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park yesterday.
It was an opinion that seemed to belong to Hodgson and Hodgson alone.
The respected manager is, understandably, relishing working for new owners in an air of stability at Anfield following the protracted takeover of the club by John W Henry for £300 million (€342.6m) this week.
While he was unable to hand his new employer the dream start that the situation seemed to demand, he insisted that he had no problems with his players’ performance.
“This would have been an ideal opportunity to really turn things around on the back of a positive response to our new owners, the way that has been received. To get a result, would have been utopia, but I can only analyse the performance. There is no point attempting to analyse dreams. The dream was we would come here on the back of new owners and win the game. We had to play the game to do that and, in my opinion, we played that game as well as we have played a game this season.”
Spanish striker Fernando Torres, the club’s talisman in good times, appears to lack confidence and sharpness at present though Hodgson was unwilling to accept that any more of his players were in such a state.
“You’re talking about one player,” said Hodgson. “Fernando is going through a bad time, his confidence is low, he needs a goal, so if you are talking about him, I would have to agree.
“But I wouldn’t say it of too many more. People are playing under pressure, that’s the bottom line when you have six points from eight games, and every game we don’t win, the pressure builds up even more. That will affect confidence in the long run but I have to say I thought it was a sterling performance that the players gave in the second half.”
Interestingly, former Liverpool fans’ favourite Robbie Fowler had a far more critical analysis as a television pundit.
“He’s not playing well, it’s as simple as that,” said Fowler of Torres. “Whether he is not happy at Liverpool, I don’t know. Whether he is not happy playing with the players he is playing with, I don’t know. He needs to buck up a bit and look a bit interested.
“Can Liverpool get into a relegation battle? On that performance, you think they probably can. Roy Hodgson has a lot of hard work to do. It’s a long season, but Liverpool are in the bottom two because they are not playing well. They need to start playing better, sharpish.”
Everton manager David Moyes won his first Merseyside derby in four years and, despite never having huge amounts of money to invest in his playing staff, he declared himself more than happy to be working for owner and chairman Bill Kenwright.
“It isn’t all about money,” said Moyes. “If we all wanted football to be about money, then maybe we wouldn’t enjoy it as much. We’re not all going to be able to have it.
“Am I jealous? Yes. But I wouldn’t swap my chairman for anyone, from America or Saudi Arabia or anywhere else. My chairman is a supporter; he backs his manager; he is behind me and supported me, which is really important for any manager.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved