Roy Hodgson admits Liverpool’s dreadful Premier League away form is leaving him with sleepness nights.
Hodgson’s men’s travel sickness continued at the weekend when they slumped to a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Newcastle United.
It was Liverpool’s sixth defeat in nine away league games this season with the Anfield outfit having taken just five points from a possible 27 on their travels – their worst tally at this stage of a campaign since 1962.
Liverpool was on course for at least a point after Kevin Nolan’s first-half strike was equalized by Dirk Kuyt shortly after half-time.
But poor defending at a set-piece allowed Joey Barton to restore Newcastle’s advantage with 10 minutes remaining before Andy Carroll slammed home a third during injury time.
And Hodgson, for whom the injured pair Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher were both sorely missed, reveals that the decisive second Magpies goal will keep him awake in the early hours.
“It will be great to have Steven back next week, but even he could not have done anything about the second goal,” said the Liverpool manager. “And that is what is going to haunt me when I ride home, and when I wake up in the middle of the night.
“That has cost us any chance of getting anything.
“I came into this job to try and win every game and I can’t say it’s harder or easier than I thought - I just need to keep working hard. It’s the job I signed on to do.
“Do I wake up in the middle of the night often? You find me a football manager who’s worthy of his sword, who doesn’t wake up in middle of night after matches, and I’ll give you a good headline.”
Hodgson admits Barton’s goal dealt a massive psychological blow to his players and warns there is no magic formula to repair their fragile mental strength away from Anfield.
“The major problem was the second goal, which was an unbelievably bad goal to give away,” said the manager. “That’s the bottom line.
“When you concede a goal like that, it’s going to have a major effect on the team’s confidence.
“We weren’t looking that troubled at 1-1, we weren’t exactly being smashed or bombarded.
Newcastle had not put us under massive pressure but when you concede like that, you can almost see in the faces of the players, ‘Whoops, here we go again’.
“How can we change that? You’ve just got to win, it’s as simple as that. There is no magic formula.
“You have to play better than we did in the second half – if we had played for 90 minutes in exactly the same way, and passed the ball in the same way, and kept our shape as we did in the first half, we would have had a good chance.”
Newcastle had endured a week of turmoil after popular manager Chris Hughton was surprisingly sacked to be replaced by Alan Pardew.
There were demonstrations outside the ground before the match against Magpies owner Mike Ashley, but the home supporters departed all smiles following Liverpool’s heaviest defeat at St James’ Park in 17 years. But Hodgson does not believe his team missed a chance to make the most of Newcastle’s predicament.
“I don’t think in those terms or go into that type of analysis,” said the manager. “Thinking about the opposition’s state of mind is not my business, I just prepare my team in the best way I can and never allow myself to think in those terms.”
David Ngog is likely to miss Wednesday’s Europa League dead rubber against FC Utrecht after receiving stitches in a cut just above his eye on Saturday which forced him to leave the field to be replaced by Ryan Babel.
“Hopefully David will be okay for the Fulham game,” added Hodgson.
“It might be difficult for me to play him on Wednesday against Utrecht but I don’t think it will keep him out of next Saturday’s game.”