Carragher insists players are behind Hodgson

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The Independent Football

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher insists the players are fully behind Roy Hodgson and it is up to them to start impressing the manager.

With their season starting so badly, with just one win in eight Barclays Premier League matches leaving them 19th in the table, speculation has started about whether everything is right behind the scenes following the recent takeover.

Hodgson took over from Rafael Benitez on July 1 but less than three months into the season he is also facing scrutiny over the team's poor performances.

But Carragher said it was important there was a collective effort.

"It is very early days in the season and there is a lot of time to go," he said.

"It hasn't always been rosy playing for Liverpool. Last season wasn't great and I remember going 12 games without a win under Gerard Houllier, so it has not always been plain sailing.

"It is a little rocky patch we are going through at the moment but as long as the players, manager and supporters all stick together it won't be a problem.

"The spirit in the dressing room is fine but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out if you win games it is a lot better.

"The manager is the boss and we should be trying to impress him, not the other way around."

Carragher will captain the side in tonight's Europa League Group K match against Napoli in the Stadio San Paolo after Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Raul Meireles and Lucas Leiva were left at home to rest.

Hodgson defended his decision to place more priority on Sunday's Barclays Premier League game at home to Blackburn but Carragher said it was important to rotate players, especially those who have had injury problems.

"Steven and Fernando are not here but you have to understand that these days it is a long season and you need a big squad and they are players that have played through summers for years on end," he added.

"Stevie also played through the international break and if you continued with him and Fernando they would eventually break down and you'd complain about that.

"The club are treating them in the right way, physically, and hopefully that will prove right towards the end of the season."

Hodgson said he had to make a choice when it came to naming his squad for the trip to Italy and pragmatism featured heavily in his decision-making.

"For me it was, quite simply, a priority," he said.

"After our very poor start to the season and bad results, if we had to make a sacrifice within the team in one game or another which game do you make it?

"I made the decision to make the sacrifice in this game because we need a win more badly on Sunday than we do tomorrow.

"I wouldn't want to be in a situation where I played Gerrard and Torres and one of them got injured or were tired and our performance on Sunday suffered.

"If we then lose tomorrow and people say we chose a weakened team because I prioritised Sunday over this game then I will hold my hands up and say they are right."