John Gibbons: All Roy Hodgson did at Liverpool was lower the tone

He never understood the city or the club.


Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday for one of those fixtures that, regardless of relative form or recent history, just feels tricky.

The Reds have actually won the last five times they have been to Selhurst Park, which must make it one of Jurgen Klopp’s happiest hunting grounds.

You have to go back to Brendan Rodgers last full season, and a team with Rickie Lambert up front, for the last time Palace beat us at home.

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So why the apprehension? Maybe it is the crowd, the stadium or memories of throwing away three-nil leads and “Crystanbul”. Or maybe it is the presence of Roy Hodgson in the opposite dugout, and the feelings he brings up.

The reminder of much darker times and the desperation not to lose to him.

As Liverpool finish the decade as European Champions, it is worth remembering how they started it.

In the summer of 2010 Roy Hodgson replaced Rafa Benitez and, spoiler alert, it went badly. It was a tough job to be fair. The Hicks and Gillett era was coming to an end, investment in the squad had dried up, and top players were looking to leave.

However, Hodgson made it much harder with negative tactics and buying dross.

I think there is some surprise outside of Merseyside about how negatively Roy Hodgson is still viewed amongst Liverpool fans.

To that, I would answer that people must have forgotten just how bad it got.

We went from title challengers in 2009 to relegation candidates just over a year later. If you think I am exaggerating, I’m not. In October 2010 Liverpool lost to Everton in a gutless display that left them 19th in the table, level on points with West Ham who were bottom.

After the game, Roy Hodgson called it the best performance of the season.

This was part of a general theme of his time in charge. Serve up shite and then tell the supporters it is all they could expect.

When Jurgen Klopp took over as Liverpool manager he talked about turning “doubters into believers”. If Roy Hodgson had encountered some doubters as Liverpool manager, he would have told them they were too optimistic.

Instead of meeting expectations that come with being Liverpool manager, he simply tried to lower them.

It wasn’t just the terrible results and even worse football that got to Liverpool fans.

It was the manager’s demeanour throughout the whole thing. He made no effort to understand the fan base or the people of the city. Liverpool is a city of outsiders, with an us vs them attitude, yet Roy Hodgson would rather suck up to the enemy that back his own team.

He called Jose Mourinho “the great man” when quoting him on how Liverpool were likely to get “worse and worse”. When Alex Ferguson called Fernando Torres a diver he said he “didn’t feel it was necessary” to defend him and called Ferguson “a very good friend of mine”.

Throughout his time at Liverpool he tried to convince people he could do no more with what he had, yet as soon as he was replaced by Kenny Dalglish the football and results improved.

Plus, we had someone who would always fight for Liverpool, and knew what this supporter base wants and needs.

No excuses, not negativity, not Paul Konchesky and certainly not sucking up to Fergie and co.

Hodgson eventually got the England job he always craved and failed at that too and now he is back at a mid-table club, presumably telling them that 50 points would be a great achievement. Liverpool, on the other hand, are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

A lot has changed since 2010.

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