“I couldn't have asked anything more of them in the second half”.
“..We did everything the team could possibly do, we played well, created chances”.
Either Roy Hodgson is the world's biggest optimist, or the Premier League's biggest fool.
I wanted to be excited in July when it was announced Roy would be taking the hot seat at Liverpool after the departure of Rafael Benitez. I don't know why, but it just felt right that finally one of England's biggest clubs would be back under the guidance of an Englishman. After his heroics last season at Fulham, it seemed Roy was being hyped as one of the Premier League's finest managers.
But, maybe I was just lying to myself.
“Fantastic!” I would tell people. I was of the school that felt Benitez had run his course at Anfield and a new direction needed to be taken to let Liverpool continue to evolve.
“Who better than the guy that took Fulham from a good bet for relegation to a European final!?” I would say...with a crack in my voice.
I knew as the words flew out of my mouth that I wasn't trying to convince the detractors that lined up from day one. I was trying to convince myself, for the good of the club, and for the good of my own sanity.
Roy is finding out fast and hard that managing a mid-table side and escaping relegation is a much different task than leading Liverpool Football Club to domestic and European glory. After taking just nine points from the opening nine games, even the most optimistic among us are starting to question our loyalty to a man who said himself “judge me after 10 games”.
Mr. Hodgson, after Sunday, it's time to be judged.
Granted the fantastic showing and 2-1 win against Blackburn has gone some way in slightly easing the pressure on his job, the grim reality is that with a -5 goal difference and 9 points, Liverpool still in 18th place and in the shocking red of relegation.
The congestion of the table means that a win against Bolton on Sunday could see Liverpool leap into the top 10, depending on other results. But, if Liverpool take a step backwards and get it wrong at the Reebok, surely it is time to reassess if Roy Hodgson is the right man to lead the Liverpool revival.
With chants already ringing out around Anfield for King Kenny to be returned to the throne, and Frank Rijkaard constantly being linked with the post since even before his dismissal from Galatasaray, Roy has to know that new owners NESV will be seriously looking at other candidates should Owen Coyle's men pull off (what in previous seasons would have been) a shocker.
A “we played well in the second half” won't do the trick from here on out.
With games against Stoke, West Ham, Newcastle, Fulham, and a revenge trip to Blackpool all coming up before the transfer window opens in January, Roy has a great chance to rocket Liverpool up the table and be amongst those challenging for a spot in European competitions.
If not, it could very well be Kenny Daglish, Frank Rijkaard, or a variety of other new arrivals that will be seen leading the charge at Anfield when they arrive this winter.