Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Roy Hodgson To Be Sacked Despite Victory

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is believed to be heading for the exit door despite the recent victory over Bolton Wanderers.

The Reds saw a mini-revival of sorts during the encounter at Anfield, as the side initially went down and mounted a comeback as Fernando Torres and Joe Cole scored as the Merseysiders took all three points.

However, The Mirror reports that this will only delay an imminent departure for the former Fulham boss, with the upper echelon of the club looking towards the potential appointment of Kenny Dalglish as an interim manager until a long-term replacement can be found.

Dalglish was previously interested in managing the club before the job went to Hodgson, but recently came out voicing his support for the 63-year-old gaffer.

It has been reported that former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez - who recently parted ways with Inter - could be in line for a return.

Kenny Dalglish Tipped For Liverpool Caretaker Role

Speculation surrounding the future of Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson refuses to die down despite Saturday's dramatic late win over Bolton, with Kenny Dalglish yesterday reported to be on the verge of returning in a caretaker role until the end of the season.

The legendary former Anfield player and manager, currently employed by the club in an ambassadorial role, had been keen to take on the manager's job after the sacking of Rafael Benitez and remains a hugely popular figure with the club's supporters, who have largely become disenchanted by Hodgson.

The club's owners New England Sports Ventures are reported by The Sunday Telegraph to be considering a stand-in position for Dalglish until the summer when they will be in a better position to appoint a permanent successor to Hodgson.

Dalglish, for his part, had made a pre-match call for the club to rally round Hodgson, telling the Liverpool Echo: "Three points for the club is more important than any single person and how they feel. It is about Liverpool Football Club right now - not about any individual."

Hodgson himself said after the game: "I know all about the negativity but it does not affect me."

Nevertheless, Hodgson retains the backing of the players, according to match-winner Joe Cole. The former Chelsea player, who tapped home from close range in added time to snatch three points against Wanderers, says the squad is doing their best to ease the pressure on the manager. "We are all behind him," said Cole of Hodgson.

Liverpool Target Hamburg’s Eljero Elia To Support Fernando Torres

Liverpool are poised to move for Dutch international Eljero Elia of Hamburg as Roy Hodgson looks to find a striker to take some of the goalscoring burden off Fernando Torres' shoulders.

Elia was part of the Dutch squad at last summer’s World Cup finals in South Africa and at 24 years old fits in to Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli’s plans of injecting youth in to the squad.

Hodgson would like to add a host of players to his underperforming side though doubts exist over both his future at the club and the new owners’ willingness to free up funds during the January transfer window when value and depth is absent from the market.

Elia would cost upwards of £10m and Hodgson would need to raise at least part of that through sales before New England Sports Ventures would sanction the move. Ryan Babel is almost certain to leave should Liverpool receive an acceptable offer with Birmingham City set to renew their interest in the Dutchman.

Should the move break down Liverpool are also monitoring Ivory Coast international Lacina Traoré, Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge and Ajax forward Luis Suarez.

Liverpool’s bid for Elia might be compromised, however, by Manchester City. Roberto Mancini is poised to lavish around £30m on Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko, with the German club intent on spending some of that windfall on a move for Elia.

Liverpool Fear They Will Lose Out On Top January Transfer Target

Liverpool fear they could miss out on top January target Ricky van Wolfswinkel, with Napoli in pole position to land the Utrecht striker.

The talented Dutch striker is on Roy Hodgson's radar as he desperately scours the market for January reinforcements for his struggling squad.

Van Wolfswinkel first came to Hodgson's attention when Utrecht played Liverpool in the Europa League at the back end of last year and the 21-year-old's progress has been monitored ever since.

Hodgson was ready to press ahead with a bid for the Dutchman but talkSPORT has learned that Napoli are now ready to hijack the move and launch a bid of their own.

Utrecht were keen on creating a bidding war for van Wolfswinkel as they look to cash in on their star asset and Napoli's interest could spark Liverpool into action.

Hodgson Wants To Stamp His Mark On Liverpool Team

Roy Hodgson has underlined his ambition to make changes to the Liverpool squad in the transfer window and "stamp his philosophy" on the team.

Hodgson has come under heavy pressure in recent times, with Liverpool failing to deliver consistent performances and the manager having failed to secure the support of a significant number of the fans.

Liverpool has made a number of signings since Hodgson replaced Rafael Benitez, with Milan Jovanovic, Joe Cole, Christian Poulsen, Raul Meireles and Paul Konchesky all having arrived in the summer.

Hodgson, though, has not had full responsibility for signings at the club and previously indicated that Poulsen, Meireles and Konchesky were the players he had been "happy to bring to the club".

The arrival of Damien Comolli as director of football strategy suggests Hodgson will not have full control over any transfers in January, either, but he has asked the owners to show faith in his judgment.

"Being honest about it, I am hoping that one day I will get a chance to stamp a little more of my authority and philosophy on the team by choosing some more of the players," Hodgson said.

"It is not often mentioned, but I have not been that active in the transfer market since I have been here. The players who are playing are the ones you have watched playing for the past few years.

"They have done exceptionally well for me in accepting a new manager, with a new style and a new training method, and giving the performances they have given, albeit that unfortunately we have been guilty of inconsistency."

Hodgson's difficult tenure at Anfield has been made more difficult as a result of the injury problems that have plagued Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard.

"If we are going to win games, it is the Torreses, the Gerrards, the [Pepe] Reinas, that are going to be the ones to get us up the table and lift us above the rest," he said.

"Fernando had a very serious knee injury, which - touch wood - seems to be in the past, but when you have had an injury there is always the little risk of recurrence, and Steven, of course, is susceptible to muscle injury if he plays too many games one after the other.

"I have just got to hope that the ones who just seem to keep going - the Duracell bunnies like Dirk Kuyt and Lucas Leiva - can keep us going and give me a chance of giving a rest to the others.

"But it is the same for all the teams in the league. We have got a couple of matches [rearranged], which doesn't help, but a lot of teams do.

"But going into it our squad seems quite big and we probably have a little bit more chance of changing things around than some other teams do."

Jürgen Klopp Denies Approach From Liverpool

The Borussia Dortmund manager, Jürgen Klopp, has played down speculation linking him with the Liverpool job. "There has been no approach and there's no point talking about it," the 43-year-old said.

Dortmund, runaway leaders in the Bundesliga with 14 wins from 17 games, started a six-day training camp in Jerez, Andalucia this afternoon amid reports that their coach has been sounded out as a possible candidate to succeed Roy Hodgson at Anfield.

Their chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, said there was no possibility Klopp might be persuaded to leave the Signal Iduna Park by the Liverpool owners, New England Sports Ventures. "There's been no official approach because it would be a waste of time," Watzke said. "Everybody knows there's no chance we'd let him go. We can but laugh [about this story]. Jürgen is a friend of mine and he has a contract until 2014. He would never break it."

Klopp has been in charge of Dortmund since May 2008 and carefully rebuilt the club to emerge as the surprise package of this season. After sixth- and fifth‑placed finishes in 2009 and 2010 respectively, the team are 10 points clear of Mainz 05 and Bayer Leverkusen. Dortmund will travel to Bayer on 14 January for the second half of the season curtain-raiser.

Klopp's excellent results and attractive football saw his initial deal with the 1997 Champions League winners extended by two years at the end of November, at a time when newspaper reports in Germany linked him with Bayern Munich and the national team. The Germany manager, Joachim Löw, is convinced that Klopp would be up to that task, too. "[He] would be able to lead the national team in his own way, of course," Löw told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung last week.

Liverpool has also been linked with Didier Deschamps, the Marseille coach, though the French club were not returning calls today. Liverpool had made an initial approach for Deschamps in June, when Marseille's chairman, Jean-Claude Dassier, was quoted as saying: "Liverpool's managing director, Christian Purslow, called me. He asked me if I would allow him to meet Didier. I told him I wouldn't stand in the way of anyone meeting whomever they want. But at the same time I politely told him there was not the slightest chance he could nick our coach."

Reds To Loan Out Striker

Skysports.com understands Liverpool are prepared to loan out highly-rated striker Nathan Eccleston during this month's transfer window.

Eccleston is regarded as one of the most promising players at Anfield and has made seven appearances in the first-team this season.

The 20-year-old, who enjoyed a loan spell at Huddersfield last season, will be allowed to go out on loan again in order to increase his first-team experience and get some action under his belt.

Reds boss Roy Hodgson is happy to loan out Eccleston in January in order to further his education as he is regarded as one for the future at Anfield.

The news has alerted a number of clubs in the Premier League and Championship to Ecclestone's possible availability this month.

West Brom and Wigan are both thought to be interested in the jet-heeled forward along with Championship pair Queens Park Rangers and Burnley.

Liverpool will now decide what is the best option for Ecclestone so that he can get some valuable first-team action in the second half of the season

Paul Konchesky Vows To Show The Best Of Himself To Liverpool Fans

Paul Konchesky is determined to win Liverpool fans over after admitting how difficult it is to shrug off the criticism in the city.

Roy Hodgson signed the left-back over the summer for a substantial fee from former club Fulham, but the player has failed to live up to the hefty price-tag, and has come under fire from sections of the Anfield faithful for sub-standard displays, which resulted in the home fans cheering his departure from the pitch in the defeat to Wolves.

The defender was dropped for the Reds' vital 2-1 win over Bolton on Saturday, with re-signed Fabio Aurelio replacing him for his first Premier League start of the season.

Konchesky has shrugged off suggestions he is not good enough to play for the club, vowing to gain the respect of the stands with a string of good performances.

He said, according to the Liverpool Echo: "The fans have not seen the best of me yet. Hopefully, I can kick on in the new year. Liverpool is a big club with a great history.

"We must try to get the club back to where it belongs."

Before Christmas, Konchesky’s fragile status on Merseyside was damaged by derogatory comments about Liverpool fans made by his mother on Facebook.

The 29-year-old admitted the city is so passionate about football, and the Reds especially, that it is difficult to escape the criticism.

"It is so small up here," he said. "There are two teams and most of the people support Liverpool – so there’s no hiding.

"In London, though, you have four or five good teams. You can go out there and not even think about it."