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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam