Hodgson expects summer signings to shine

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has backed his summer signings to come good in the same way midfielder Lucas Leiva has emerged as a key performer this season.

The Brazil international was one of the club's most derided players of recent seasons after suffering a couple of years of unfair criticism.



However, Lucas, still only 23, has grown in stature in a difficult campaign and put in a man-of-the-match performance in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea.



The former Gremio midfielder, harshly compared to Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano - both of whom have now left the club - is starting to put in consistently good displays.



It was expected the arrival of the experienced Christian Poulsen from Juventus would restrict his first-team appearances but the opposite has been true.



Hodgson admits the 30-year-old Dane, whose substitution in last week's Europa League win over Napoli was greeted with ironic cheers, has struggled to adapt after moving from Serie A.



But he believes he and his other summer signings Joe Cole, whose Liverpool career has been interrupted by suspension and injury, and Raul Meireles will play key roles this season.



"Lucas is a young player and I have to keep being reminded he is not that old and does not have that much experience," said the Reds boss.



"People clearly marked my card as regards to many players and when I came I knew there was a prejudice against him.



"I have got to say I don't see what people really found to criticise in him.



"I can only judge as I find and I find him very hard working, a very diligent player who works hard on his understanding of the game and team performances.



"Christian Poulsen, who has had a bad start to the season, is to some extent also a victim of prejudice at the moment.



"I am convinced in both of these players we have really useful players who will serve us to great effect for the rest of the season.



"Maybe Christian will have to go through a bit of what Lucas went through but I know the players have the quality we are looking for and I know they are going to help us win matches.



"Raul is a good footballer and was very good in setting up the second goal for Fernando Torres against Chelsea and I think we will get a lot of use out of him.



"I am quite happy players like him don't necessarily get put totally under the microscope from the day they arrive because even coming from a top team like Porto it takes time to settle.



"Every player who comes here has to go through that adaptation process."



The hamstring injury which kept Cole out of the game against former club Chelsea will also sideline him as Liverpool look for a fourth success Barclays Premier League win at Wigan tomorrow.



Defender Glen Johnson is set for a return after sitting out Sunday with a groin problem but youngster Martin Kelly excelled as his deputy and Hodgson now feels competition is starting to grow within the squad.



"They will work hard to get back. Joe Cole is a magnificent professional but he would have wished for a better start to his Liverpool career - we all would have done," he added.



"No-one wants it more than him so I don't have any fears on either score with those two players.



"Johnson will want to come back and perform better in order to maintain his England place and Joe will want to get his England place back.



"Joe thought hard and long before choosing Liverpool and he could have taken an easier option by staying in London.



"He chose to move to a big club in the north-west and a difficult club to impress at because he wanted to do it and I think he will.



"I haven't certainly lost faith in him and I hope the fans have not lost faith in him and will give him plenty more chances."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

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