As the Kop calls for Dalglish, the clock is ticking for Hodgson

The Kop really didn't need to launch into those muffled chants of "Dalglish" on Sunday afternoon for Roy Hodgson to know that the threat to his Liverpool future lies right on his shoulder. A glance up at the front row of the directors' box tells any manager at Anfield that the eyes of Liverpool's rich and historic past are upon him. Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush looked on like a Greek chorus as Hodgson's Merseyside career began unravelling a little more against Blackpool. Alan Hansen often completes a formidable triumvirate.

Ray Clemence, a less frequent visitor but still a deeply committed Liverpool fan, had to laugh when it was put to him yesterday that this is a more forbidding front row than any other manager has to contend with.

"Well, maybe they sit further back at Spurs," he said of the side he left Liverpool for in 1981, his swansong being the Merseyside club's European Cup win over Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Clemence fell in line behind Hodgson – as, for now, does the senior management at Anfield. Hodgson's future is not in immediate doubt and questions about the board's view on the issue were met with some derision yesterday.

But the England goalkeeping coach, an icon of those days when Liverpool swept all aside in the First Division, does not dismiss the idea that Dalglish, who so badly wanted to succeed Rafael Benitez, could return to front-line football, 10 long years after his brief period as caretaker at Celtic ended in acrimony. "I don't think Kenny's really been out of the game, even though he hasn't managed for so long," Clemence said of his former team-mate. "He's been working behind the scenes, he's a football man."

Clemence correctly insisted that Hodgson's two months in the job is not long enough to draw conclusions. "Are we now judging a manager on two or three months? That's a sad state of affairs. He is the right man." But Dalglish would certainly restore to Liverpool the rich sense of their own history which Hodgson has not allowed Liverpool's supporters to bask in during his brief tenure.

For a time, Hodgson's attempts to lower expectations were something to make light of. "We've been elevated as high as Jupiter. The Champions League... might take a year I suppose," he said in July, lightly mocking his new signing Joe Cole when the former Chelsea midfielder suggested that the title was not beyond Liverpool's reach. It was a reasonable strategy to a point. Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have both made a top-four finish the only aim.

But the lowered horizons seem to have permeated the club, from the public utterances to the unambitious outlook of the sides Hodgson has fielded.

Clemence argues that Liverpool's financial woes have put the club on the defensive. But the financial strictures which prevented them from luring Frank Rijkaard, now of Galatasaray, to replace Benitez this summer – the club made an approach but quickly concluded the Dutchman was way beyond their pay scale – have not applied to the money made available to the new manager in the transfer market.

Raul Meireles (£11.5m), Paul Konchesky (£5m) and Christian Poulsen (£4.5m), plus the £90,000 per week which persuaded Joe Cole to choose Anfield over a reunion with Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane, represent a substantial investment – and certainly no worse than Sir Alex Ferguson's at Manchester United. The tragedy was that Liverpool's covert attempts to approach Rafael van der Vaart, behind Benitez's back, earlier this year came to nothing, but Hodgson does have new players and a fair few of his predecessor's.

The new manager's prosaic style has allowed the impression to take root that he is a caretaker, at Anfield as a two-year stopgap at most, to keep the ship afloat until proprietors Tom Hicks and George Gillett can be pushed through the door and a new financial framework can be put in place.

But the frenetic competition of the Premier League does not allow for temporary managers. Thus, Liverpool head into the Goodison derby a week on Sunday looking by far the weaker side and the one more likely to flirt with relegation throughout this season.

Much more of this and Gerrard, initially convinced by his old friend and ex-Liverpool team-mate Danny Murphy that Hodgson was a good appointment, may find motivation hard to come by. Ironically, the defeat to Blackpool was followed by a less prickly and more assured post-match performance than we have seen from Hodgson since the season began, a sign perhaps it is the result to break him and his team from their malaise.

"He's coached in Italy for goodness sake and there's plenty of pressure there," Clemence said. But Hodgson’s two periods at Internazionale lasted two years and one year respectively and on those occasions, unlike this, there was no legend in the background, champing at the bit.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen