Back to the future is Hodgson's mission

For the scale of the task facing Roy Hodgson, you need only look back a few months to the miserable ending to Liverpool's Europa League campaign that followed their miserable Champions' League campaign.

Trailing to Atletico Madrid on away goals at Anfield, Rafael Benitez was only able to call on Nabil El Zhar, Philipp Degen and Dani Pacheco to swing a semi-final their way.

A club for sale, still in the stadium they acknowledged they had to leave behind years ago, with a squad lacking any depth beyond a competitive but failing first team, Liverpool limped to seventh place – and a first title since 1990 has rarely felt as far away.

Unveiling Hodgson, the chairman Martin Broughton was bullish about the prospects of a sale, claiming the reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett could be over by August. Whether that time frame is optimistic remains to be seen but rumours of potential investors swirl around Merseyside almost on a daily basis.

Only when the sale goes through can talk of rejuvenation take over from worries about refinancing. Until then Hodgson must battle with what he has got before him. Until they can definitely move forward, sideways should be seen as an achievement.

Real Madrid continue to put out feelers for Steven Gerrard, who held talks with the new manager on Thursday before heading off on holiday, and Hodgson was making a priority of speaking to Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres, still involved at the World Cup, on the phone. Mascherano has rarely missed a chance to link himself with a reunion with Benitez at Internazionale, while doubts continue over the future of Torres.

Hodgson accepts he cannot afford to "bullshit" his players about the direction the club is taking. The £6m sale of Yossi Benayoun to Chelsea will push Hodgson's transfer budget to about £17m, which may buy one top-quality player.

With Tottenham in the Champions' League and Manchester City continuing to spend, it is not the time to be attempting to match them by assembling a squad on a budget. Further money could be on its way if Albert Riera and Ryan Babel follow Benayoun out of the club but Hodgson admits he must give chances to players who have underperformed or been completely sidelined in recent months.

Hodgson has his eyes wide open and although he is faced with limitless negatives, which should decrease expectations on him to such an extent that Champions' League football would be like a title win, he merely sees footballing issues that must be overcome.

Success with Fulham was brought about with a clear tactical plan, drilled into the players relentlessly on the training ground, and Hodgson hopes to get Liverpool back on track by employing the virtues that brought the club success in the 1970s.

"The weight of tradition at this club weighs on the shoulders of every player who comes through the door," he said. "We shouldn't be taking anybody through the door who doesn't think what a privilege it is to play here.

"Therefore I have to give everything I can give and maybe even a bit more. Funnily enough, all the things that I've always liked are the things Liverpool were famous for in their heyday. Pass and move, always move it quickly and when you lose the ball, get back in position. That was the mantra that took Liverpool through their great years.

"I know Alex Ferguson is not a Liverpool fan so I'm a bit concerned about my excellent relationship with him," he joked. "I sincerely hope he forgives me for moving north and will welcome the fact that we can have a glass of wine together, maybe in secret."

Though he views his work at Fulham with immense pride, if Hodgson is able to make his old friend fear Liverpool as genuine title rivals again, it would surpass all else.

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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map