Liverpool position not a concern for Hodgson

Manager Roy Hodgson insistence that Liverpool's current position in the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League is less of a problem than it was for him at former club Fulham is unlikely to placate unhappy fans.

The team were booed off after Sunday's 2-1 home defeat to newcomers Blackpool and the name of Reds legend Kenny Dalglish, overlooked as a replacement for departed boss Rafael Benitez, was chanted by the Kop.

Hodgson has yet to win over those fans and even a win - however unlikely it may seem at the moment - in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park in just under a fortnight will do little to change opinions.

Only a sustained improvement which lifts the club out of 18th place will bring a thaw in the frosty relationship between manager and fans.

But Hodgson does not think having to spend the entire international break looking at a Premier League table which has Liverpool in the relegation zone is as bad as some people perceive.

"I don't think it matters we will be in the bottom three for the next fortnight," he said.

"The psychological blow of being in the bottom three after seven games is a damn sight less damaging than being there from game number 18 to game number 36, as I experienced at Fulham.

"I had 18 games in the bottom three - that is psychological damage, especially when you see games running out and the number of points you need getting bigger and bigger."

Hodgson took over a struggling Fulham side in December 2007 and eventually guided them to safety that season.

Although his appointment as Benitez's successor in July came with its own set of problems - lack of finance and the on-going sale of the club the main two - it was never expected to be as bad as this.

The club have made their worst start to a campaign since 1953-54, when they were relegated.

Hodgson does not envisage a repeat, but acknowledges they may struggle to hit their targets this year.

"With 31 games left to play I am absolutely convinced Liverpool will not be in the bottom three after 38 games," he added.

"Whether or not this bad start is going to affect us in our ambition to be nearer the top of the table that is another matter.

"That is something you can accuse us now of not being able to do.

"But I think to suggest, especially after seeing what we did in the second half against Blackpool, that we are a relegation candidate would be stretching credulity to the limit."

Former Liverpool players Ray Clemence and Gary Gillespie have called for Hodgson to be given the time he needs to turn things around.

"Roy is a very good coach and manager and will get them organised as well as he can and will get them out of the current situation," said ex-goalkeeper Clemence.

Former defender Gillespie added: "I don't think Roy realised what he was coming in to when he took over the role and he's probably finding it a lot bigger than even he expected."

Hodgson's problems increased when it was confirmed last night striker Fernando Torres sustained an adductor strain in the Blackpool defeat and is already a doubt for the crunch Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on October 17.

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