Hodgson claims Anfield job was impossible with 'icon' in the wings

West Brom manager says it was difficult to compete with Dalglish as Liverpool visit the Hawthorns today

Roy Hodgson claimed yesterday he had found it almost impossible to fulfil his role as manager of Liverpool while Kenny Dalglish was "waiting in the wings", admitting it had been difficult to compete with the "icon" he now believes should be confirmed as the Anfield club's permanent manager.

Hodgson's new club, West Bromwich Albion, face Liverpool, the club who relieved him of his duties 85 days ago, at the Hawthorns today, when Dalglish will be in the visitors' dug-out. Asked whether he believed he would have had a better chance of success at Anfield had the Scot not been a contender for the post last June, the 63-year-old replied: "It's difficult to compete with icons. I came to the right club, but perhaps not at the right time because Kenny did make it clear at that time that he wanted the job."

The much-travelled manager, whom Dalglish has described as "an old friend", hinted that the former Liverpool player and manager's presence as a club ambassador with youth-academy duties had cast a shadow over his efforts at Liverpool. "The people who were making the decision back then decided to go for me," said Hodgson. "Of course, as a result, that left Kenny in a difficult position because he was the one that wanted the job. So when things didn't go well, having him in the background wasn't easy and wouldn't have been easy for any coach."

Hodgson maintains that Dalglish, who turned 60 last month, should now be reappointed to the position the Scotsman relinquished early in 1991. "He has got the backing of the fans and they're very important at Liverpool. If they don't give it to him now then it's going to be very difficult for the next man who gets the job."

Having led Fulham to the Europa League final last season, Hodgson was appointed by Liverpool's then-owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, last summer. He survived poor results, including a home defeat in the Carling Cup by League Two Northampton, and took only 25 points from 20 matches before new proprietors, in the form of John W Henry's Boston-based Fenway Sports Group, bought control last October. In January, six months into his reign, Hodgson was sacked, entering the Anfield record books as the shortest-lived appointment in the club's history.

"I took the job in good faith. I knew I was taking a risk because a change of ownership was in the offing. And I knew that in order to win the fans over, we'd need to have a flying start. When you don't get that, and there's a change of ownership, I'm afraid you're at risk as a manager – especially when there's a man of Kenny Dalglish's iconic stature waiting in the wings and prepared to take over."

However, he does not view today's encounter, which is of vital importance to Albion's hopes of avoiding relegation and Liverpool's prospects of qualifying for Europe, as a grudge match. "There's no vindication factor at all. It wouldn't be strictly true to say I enjoyed my time at Liverpool but I was treated correctly by everyone at the club. I had a very good relationship with the players, who I thought did their very best for me.

"It didn't work out, either for them or me for that short period of time. I'm pleased it's working out for them now. I have a lot of respect for Liverpool and the players there. I know and admire their qualities. They've had a good spell of results so their confidence will be high. Of course I desperately hope it's not going to work out for them this weekend."

Did he expect a favourable reaction from the Kopites who chanted for Dalglish after a defeat at Stoke during his reign? "I don't know. The reaction to my appointment was not well received from the bigger section of fans so I don't know if that's changed since I left. It would be nice if their reaction was a good one. If it isn't I'll have to live with it."

Hodgson, who has "found pleasure" in his new role, expressed satisfaction that Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher went on the record this week about the positive aspects of his sojourn on Merseyside. Since his departure Dalglish has recruited Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll, players he said he and Liverpool's scouts had assessed.

Albion are undefeated in the four games since Hodgson succeeded Roberto di Matteo and he is optimistic they have "the quality" to stay up. "We're unbeaten though it's only one victory. If teams in our situation can take six points every four games they'll be very happy. That would give us 12 points from the last eight. If you're relegated with 45 you're very unlucky."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test