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Hodgson Makes His Anfield Return, and Other Friday Notes


With some distance between Saturday's win over Everton in the FA Cup semi-final, we can turn our attention to the weekend and Liverpool's return to Premier League action. For all their success in domestic cup competition, league performances have been all over the map, and this weekend's match-up promises to have a healthy dose of awkward to go with the uncertainty of which version of Liverpool we'll be watching come Sunday.

* Roy Hodgson's Liverpool tenure is better left attributed to a particularly ferocious fever dream, but with West Bromwich Albion headed to Anfield on Sunday, we were bound to be confronted with some sort of reminiscing. Thankfully there hasn't been too much of the "shame on Liverpool supporters" dialogue that accompanied Hodgson's exit last January, but we can at least brace ourselves for some strange moments as he graces the touchline once again.

And unlike everything else that was happening during his time as Liverpool manager, that fact isn't lost on Hodgson.

"There is no reason to give me a good reception because they didn't like me when I was there. I can't see they are going to like me now. There aren't that many people I worked with that are still there and people like Damien Comolli (director of football) have moved on. But it will be nice to see one or two players I worked with."

Kenny Dalglish had differing feelings on what things will be like, but I think we can probably all agree that it'd be nice to just move on with some sort of grace on both ends. It can't have been an easy spell for Hodgson, who seemed directionless and out of place during his brief spell with the club. And it certainly wasn't an easy spell for the club or its supporters, with relegation an actual thing people were talking about as late as January of last year.

So there'll probably be a few scattered boos and some uncomfortable moments, but the sooner that his connection with Liverpool is a non-story the better. Unless it leads to more Tuesdays with Roy, in which case we can all survive a bit longer.

* As is typically the case, Dalglish made headlines for a number of topics throughout the week, and he found himself in a position to comment on the reasons behind the travel patterns of Liverpool's owners. Dalglish is thorny on his best day and not shy in his defiance of letting out any information that could be considered even slightly important, so it's no surprise that he left us in the dark about the purpose of John Henry's latest visit.

“We’ve had plenty of conversations, but the conversations that we have will remain private. I don’t know what the big deal is. If you own a football club, you talk to the manager, you talk to the communications people, you talk to whoever you want – it’s your club.

“Is it not right that people come and talk to you? I don’t see how it’s a story. I don’t even see why it keeps coming up. I don’t hear them saying to everybody else ‘have you spoken to your owners this week?’ They’re your employers; they’re going to speak to you.”

Just a shade below thorny, then. It's a fair enough point, and there's bound to be increased interaction as the season winds down. We can add "talking to each other" to the list of potentially job-threatening interactions that Dalglish can have with his bosses, a list that was previously limited to "talking about what you did this year."

There could be very real and very significant changes on the immediate horizon at Liverpool, and I think many of us would prefer that things are done differently this coming summer. But to pretend that we're going to have any sort of working knowledge about what exactly those changes will be is nothing short of foolish. That makes for a potentially frustrating and impatient summer, and one that will leave us hoping for some pleasant surprises.

* Apparently Henry was at the reserves' match on Thursday to see Rodolfo Borrell's squad fight back from a 0-2 deficit to earn a 2-2 draw with North division leaders Manchester United. It was a good recovery for a squad that's been inconsistent for most of the season---many of those on display yesterday had played a large part in the club's NextGen Series run---and a nice way to wind their season down.

Borrell and company were included in Dalglish's praise of the Academy renovations instigated by Rafa Benitez, who for whatever reason continues to be painted as someone who did nothing but harm to the youth prospects at the club. Time and again that's refuted by those that actually have an idea of what's going on at the academy, and hopefully we'll be able to see his changes pay dividends at the first-team level for years to come.

That's it for Friday, and we'll be back with any other important news ahead of the preview as it comes out. In the meantime enjoy extended highlights of the reserves' draw and daydream about Suso channeling his occasional brilliance on a more frequent basis.

Video by Mostar via YouTube

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