Under-performing Liverpool players trying too hard says Roy Hodgson

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson believes some of his under-performing players are trying too hard to rediscover their form in order to force their way into the first team.

The Reds boss made 10 changes for last night's disappointing goalless Europa League draw at home to Utrecht, giving a chance to the likes of Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen, Ryan Babel and Fabio Aurelio.

Only the latter two put in anything resembling a half-decent performance but just centre-back Martin Skrtel, who played 45 minutes, is likely to retain his place for Saturday's visit of Hodgson's former club Fulham.

The frustration continues, in particular, for Cole as suspension and injury have contributed to a disappointing start to his Liverpool career after his high-profile summer free transfer from Chelsea.

He has not been able to establish a regular starting place and his situation is symptomatic of the issues facing Hodgson at Anfield, namely that there is not the depth of quality outside of his starting line-up to give him options over a long Barclays Premier League season.

"It is most frustrating for them because they want it so much," said Hodgson.

"There is no lack of desire, commitment, effort and wanting to do well.

"Where we broke down quite often (against Utrecht) was technically unfortunately.

"We didn't look after the ball enough or produce the right pass and that frustrates players who have first-team potential because they know they are capable of doing it.

"I see these players every day in training and I know some of them will be disappointed they did not take their chance a little bit better but that won't affect me because they will get other chances.

"Sometimes in football you can want things too much. If you don't get a chance on a regular basis and one comes along sometimes your desire to take it can impact negatively on your performance and that might have been the case for one or two.

"Some of the players whose performance could be categorised as a drop off compared to the previous XI will be disappointed to hear that.

"I didn't learn that much more other than that I have a group of players who are prepared to work their socks off for the club and will continue to improve as the season goes on."

One of the few positives to come from last night's match - with the side having already qualified for the last 32 - was that Hodgson was able to keep his first-choice side out of the firing line.

They all took part in a full training session today and the Reds boss hopes it will give them an advantage in their preparations to face the Cottagers.

Hodgson admitted he initially wanted to give Fernando Torres a run out against the Dutch to help boost the confidence of the Spain international, who has not scored in four matches.

But the more he thought about it, especially after receiving input from the fitness conditioning trainers, he opted to leave him on the bench for 90 minutes.

"I was seriously thinking he might get 45 minutes and that would be good for his confidence," the 63-year-old admitted.

"Perhaps he doesn't need the confidence boost. That is one of the things I was raking my conscience about.

"I was looking at his (first) 50 Liverpool goals the other day and they are quire incredible.

"I am hoping, by making the decision I did, we will see him come to light in the Premier League on Saturday."

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks