Liverpool Boss Roy Hodgson : "I Don't Know What to Do at This Stage"

Nabeel KhokharCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2010

ALTACH, AUSTRIA - JULY 17:  Roy Hodgson, manager of Liverpool FC, gestures prior to the pre-season friendly match between Al-Hilal and Liverpool FC at the Cashpoint-Arena on July 17, 2010 in Altach, Austria..The match was cancelled due to heavy rain. (Photo by Thomas Kienzle/Getty Images)
Thomas Kienzle/Getty Images

Roy Hodgson is surely the English Premier League manager most under the microscope as the new season for Liverpool FC kicks off in a few days time.

With a real ‘banana-skin’ Europa League first leg tie away to FK Rabotnicki of Macedonia, Hodgson must make sure that his first competitive game in charge of the Reds does not end up being an embarrassment.

As first competitive games go, the new Liverpool boss could not have picked a worse start. Away to a little known Macedonian team waiting with baited breath for the chance to take the scalp of mighty Liverpool.

Little is known of Rabotnicki and that makes it all the more difficult for Hodgson to prepare for this encounter. Add to this that his medical experts are insisting that the regular first teamers that played in the World Cup, should not be risked with so little pre-season preparation; Hodgson is facing a dilemma, as well as a baptism of fire.

With the only recognized first team players Alberto Aquilani and Lucas available, the English manager has some tough decisions to make.

The youngsters that went on tour were found to be far from capable of overcoming experienced European campaigners, even if they were from lesser European teams.

Throw in the undeniable hunger, drive and agression that the Macedonian will have, as they champ at the bit to record a famous result, the Liverpool youngsters may well be entering a lion's den.

Hodgson may have no option but to include at least one or two experienced defenders in his squad for the tie. Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos may well find himself a starter alongside the Argentine youngster Daniel Ayala.

However, it is at left back that the Liverpool manager faces the biggest problem, as he has no recognized player in that position in his current squad.

Having already stated that he will not take Steven Gerrard to Macedonia to sit on the bench and play the final 10 minutes if required, Hodgson has a potential conflict with his sport science staff brewing.

Few will envy Hodgson's position right now. With other issues piling up all around him such as the tabloid fascination with Fernando Torres being unhappy and Javier Mascherano rumoured to be wanting to reunite with Rafa Benitez, he has a trip into the unknown that could result in a humiliating start to his Liverpool tenure.

If nothing else has come from Hodgson's short time in charge at Anfield, it is his completely honesty in testy situations with statements such as "I don't know what to do at this stage, I will have to liaise with them and Peter Brukner (head of sports science) and make a decision by Tuesday on what sort of team I can put out."

Such statements are not the most confidence inspiring to the fans who have been led to believe that this is the man that has all the answers.

Hodgson is going to have to come up with some solutions pretty fast and good ones at that, or else Liverpool may just come away from their first competitive match without, not only their scalp, but also their pride.