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.

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
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

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness