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Roy Hodgson Friday Wrap-up

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smiling roy
I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.

On Wednesday night I hoped that late news of his dismissal would leak out. It didn't. But, I thought, perhaps his departure would be sorted by lunch in Liverpool the next day. It wasn't, though a Hodgson press conference being moved to Friday sparked a round of hopeful whispers. I got on with writing up a Tuesdays With Roy, because after his declaration of war against the Kop there really didn't seem to be anything else to do, and then I hoped that maybe NESV would have gotten their ducks all in a rubber tub and dropped in the toaster before night fell. They didn't.

Perhaps something on the Hodgson front will come sailing out of the blue, like a stratospheric, aimless hoof appearing from the sky just in time to smack you right upside the head. At this point, it seems as though it probably won't, and as though at the very least Hodgson will get to manage the first match of 2011 tomorrow. Maybe, if things go exceptionally poorly--which hardly seems that big a stretch--the fans will resort to carrying him off the pitch and forcibly removing his presence from Anfield before the final whistle. So at least I'll have something to look forward to one way or the other.

Of course, it hasn't only been Ed and I here who have reacted rather strongly to Roy's latest failure

--or pair of failures, if one wishes to separate out the match and what he said afterwards--and it would be bad form to not take a bit of time to highlight some of the better reactions that have boiled out in Wednesday's wake...

* Over at Oh You Beauty, Nate-who-hasn't-been-writing-as-much-lately-as-he-should-be takes a run at Hodgson's stubborn adherence to his favoured systems and tactics, with a special helping of disdain for the re-introduction of Gerrard to a previously settled central midfield in a move that only Hodgson, Gerrard, and Andy Gray are likely to still think has any wisdom to it:

Unfortunately, Liverpool's current manager believes the opposite. He has a system, and he'll keep hammering square pegs into round holes until they fit or the hammer breaks.

Last night's lineup was the worst example of the trait. A proven central midfielder on the right, a converted right winger forced onto the left, and a continued belief that it's 4-4-2 or bust. Unlike with Liverpool's previous manager, the opposition's tactics don't enter into Hodgson's equation at any stage. Roy's rules of managing seems to be a list comprising two tenets. One: his team is playing 4-4-2. Two: Gerrard must play in central midfield.

* Over at the not typically sports-obsessed Good Men Project magazine, Liverpool fan Ryan O'Hanlon asks himself a question that's come up intermittently during Hodgson's tenure: is it ever alright to cheer against your team or club or side or what-have-you? In the end he admits that he may be "a cheating, adulterous skank of a fan," but its a question that becomes more interesting with the passing week and with Hodgson's continued employment. While I haven't found my way to rooting against Liverpool as a viable reaction to His Royness, I can certainly admit to a certain sarcastic acceptance of some of the worst displays--losing doesn't hurt the way it used to, with how low Roy's set the bar, and I tell myself that at least the bad man might be gone soon. In the meantime, if you're going to be a hilariously pathetic football club, you might as well embrace the suck and break out the gallows humour to avoid going completely mad. Perhaps being willing to cheer for a loss just to maybe be rid of him a little sooner is the logical next step.

* Meanwhile, Tomkins weighs in with a typically meaty and insightful reflection on the state of Liverpool Football Club post-Wolves. What are quickly becoming familiar fan talking points are starting to become clear, but that doesn't mean they don't bear repeating:

The obsession with Gerrard in central midfield and two big strikers is Liverpool as if managed by Andy Gray. No wonder he never criticises Hodgson. We’ve gone from a manager who averaged 75 points a season and racked up four Champions League quarter-finals or better, to one who’s on course for … 46 points.

He also doesn't pass up the chance to pass along a chalkboard that's been getting a lot of deserved play over the last few days comparing Reina's distribution on Wednesday with his distribution against Wolves last season. It's terrifying--and damning--enough that I find myself unable to avoid passing it along as well. Blue means successful; red, not so much:

bouncing baby hoof

One last noteworthy, er, note to make would be that it finally seems as though the media is fully turning on the man, the myth, the 35 year legend of Malmo. It's still for the most part coming from places a touch more sympathetic to LFC and less tied in to the Glory of '66 brigade--such as The Guardian in general and Rory Smith over at the Telegraph--but just as amongst Liverpool's followers, those voices are becoming louder and more certain in their criticism. Just as long as Patrick Barclay never comes around I'll be happy for the shifting tide, because I suspect I'll always feel more certain about any side of an argument I'm on if it's on the opposite side from him. In the meantime crack open another bottle of the hard stuff and remember, vodka goes bad when you don't finish it in one session...