During his time at Internazionale, Roy Hodgson said: "Every defeat is a funeral." Liverpool is no different; it's a city full of footballing undertakers, prepared to pore over the corpse of every defeat or every failure to win. This might explain Hodgson's irritability at what he sees as unrealistic expectations at a clubwho are in the midst of major reconstruction.
When Liverpool arrived back on Merseyside from a valuable if uninspiring goalless draw in Utrecht, they were 16th in the Premier League. Hodgson said bluntly he could not "give a monkey's whether they were 18th". Thirty-five years coaching in seven countries have taught him that you do not judge a league campaign after six games, especially when three have been against Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United.
"When you have six points from six games you understand there will be stories and people are going to be making negative judgements," he said. "That's the way it is. Inter was like that and most clubs will be like that. If I'd been at Fulham and we had been losing three or four of the opening games, then people would have been asking if the last two-and-a-half years had been a flash in the pan.
"It doesn't bother me. I had wonderful years [at Fulham] when nothing negative was ever said about me or my team. Now, maybe people are saying negative things. It doesn't change anything. I will work the way I worked last year."
Some have criticised Hodgson's sides as being cautious and unable to deliver a swaggering display of the kind Liverpool staged when destroying Real Madrid in the Champions' League 19 long months ago. This, however, is a very different Liverpool and Hodgson, who gives the impression that most of the criticism barely deserves an answer, is not about to abandon the methods that have brought him repeated success.
"My methods translated from Halmstads, to Malmo, to the Swiss national team... so you know the question is frankly insulting," he said. "To suggest that suddenly, because you move from one club to another, the methodsthat have stood you in good stead for 35 years don't work, is ridiculous."
Although Blackpool, who have not come to Anfield since 1971, should be the kind of opposition Liverpool ought to brush aside, Hodgson has been at pains to point out that expectations need to go down. This, he says, is very much a work in progress.
"I would accuse you of being unrealistic if you think we could match Arsenal, a team that has been togetherfor six years, or Chelsea, who have just won the League," he said. "This is a new team with four or five new players. We finished seventh last season. I don't understand why you suggest we should be comparing ourselves to Chelsea or Manchester United at this early stage of the season."Reuse content