Roy Hodgson revealed his frustration with Liverpool's fans last night and called on them "to become supporters" after the most excruciating league defeat of his tenure saw them round on him and once again chant the name of Kenny Dalglish.
Hodgson's grip on his job looked more precarious than ever after defeat to bottom club Wolves, and as Liverpool enter the New Year on their lowest points total since their relegation season of 1953/54, the decision for Liverpool's new owners now appears to be whether they are ready to write off the season by persisting with him. Liverpool are three points off the relegation places this morning, but Hodgson insisted that "the belief I can turn it around comes from belief in my own ability. I have seen times like this before."
He was subjected to ironic chants of "Hodgson for England" after substituting David Ngog for Ryan Babel but said that was typical of Anfield's persistently negative response to him since his appointment, six months on Sunday. "We've had to live with that [criticism] for a long time now," Hodgson said. "Ever since I came here the famous Anfield support has not been there. There was the problems with the owners, Kenny [Dalglish] being so popular and not being given the job and it being given to me. I can only hope those fans become supporters as well because this is the time when the club needs supporters. It's time for people to help us along."
The consequences of Wolves' second win at Anfield in 60 years were a contrast to the pressure which was eased from Carlo Ancelotti's shoulders after Chelsea's 2-0 win at home to Bolton, though Arsène Wenger was left frustrated by his side's 2-2 draw at Wigan.
Hodgson declared that the response to the substitution, which came six minutes after Irishman Stephen Ward scored his first league goal for Wolves, was unjustified. "When things are not going well, fans do all sorts of things," he said. His side managed only three shots on goal and though Hodgson insisted that Ngog, rather than Fernando Torres was withdrawn because "when you have a player like Fernando on the team you don't bring him off", the Spaniard's individual contribution was, yet again, derisory.