Roy Hodgson or the Players: Who's at Fault for Liverpool's Poor Season?

Neri SteinAnalyst IIIFebruary 9, 2017

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Liverpool currently sits in 9th place in the Premier League with just 22 points from 17 games. The Reds looked to be on the rise by beating holders Chelsea, but they followed it with a draw at Wigan and a loss at Stoke. Since then, the Reds have steamrolled over both West Ham and Aston Villa, but have thrown it away at the end in games at Tottenham and Newcastle. 

Liverpool easily won their group in the Europa League, but the team still cannot manage to get a consistent run going. With new owners in place and the debt wiped out, no one can blame off field issues for poor form, but then who is to blame?

Roy Hodgson took over for Rafa Benitez in the summer, after leading Fulham to the Europa League final last season and being voted Manager of the Year by his peers. But, he doesn't seem to be the man to lead Liverpool through what is proving to be a very trying time.

Fans and former players alike were clamoring for Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish to reclaim his post at the helm, but the board chose to keep him in his role with Liverpool's Academy. With the Reds seemingly at a constant struggle for form, many fans are losing their patience with Hodgson. 

But, it's not like he's getting much help from his charges. He never knows which Fernando Torres will show up for each game and, unfortunately, it has been a lethargic one for the most part. He's had his moments, particularly against Chelsea, but since that game, he has scored just once and missed three one-on-one goal-scoring opportunities (two against Tottenham, one against Newcastle). All of which would've likely put Liverpool in the clear to win those games. This season has shown more than anything, that Torres is clearly suffering from non-stop football for the past three years.

In addition to under-performing superstars, Hodgson hasn't helped his own cause much. He put out a below second-string side, that lost at home to Northampton in the Carling Cup, and his few summer signings haven't done much to impress. Most shocking however, is his managing during games.

Liverpool have had a problem of conceding soft goals late, against Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, Newcastle and more, for no other reason except the team looks tired.

One has to question why Hodgson waited until the 85th minute at Newcastle, when the Reds were already down 2-1, to make a tactical substitution. He certainly waits too long to make changes and doesn't always put out the right team, but he doesn't really have the best at his disposal. 

The new owners don't seem the type to fire a manager mid-season, so Hodgson's job looks safe until May barring some catastrophes and, hopefully, they can also revamp the squad in the January transfer window. Even with that, Hodgson still needs to be a more decisive manager and the few star players that Liverpool has need to start playing like it much more often.