Belfast Telegraph

They think it’s all Rover for Roy Hodgson at Liverpool

Blackburn Rovers 3 Liverpool 1: A depressed Roy Hodgson refused to answer questions about his future as Liverpool manager after his side slipped to an embarrassing defeat.

Two goals from Blackburn’s Benjani Mwaruwari — who had not started since November 6 and scored once in 12 previous appearances — and Martin Olsson condemned the Reds to a ninth Barclays Premier League defeat of the season despite an 80th-minute consolation from Steven Gerrard, who missed a late penalty.

The result seems likely to hasten the end of Hodgson’s six-month reign at Anfield, with owners New England Sports Ventures having already begun their search for a replacement.

Hodgson answered just three questions in his post-match press conference which, uncharacteristically for him, lasted just over two minutes, and as soon as the subject of his position was broached proceedings were brought to an abrupt halt.

“I am not prepared to talk about that because obviously I am depressed enough with the performance and the result,” said the 63-year-old.

“I have no comments to make and I have no intention to answer any questions on the subject.”

Asked about his feelings after the defeat Hodgson said: “Dejection, bitter disappointment, frustration.

“I am very disappointed for the fans who gave us good support and saw the team concede the goals we did.

“I thought in the second half we did well to retrieve a seemingly hopeless situation and get back on track and had Steven's penalty gone in who knows, we may have made the last five minutes more exciting.

“Unfortunately when you are Liverpool and you lose away to Blackburn there is nothing that can be said which will put a positive slant or make the situation look any brighter.

“As far as I am concerned it is a really bad day and there is not much more I can say other than, to the fans, that anything they are feeling tonight I can assure them the feeling is equally as bad and equally as depressed in the dressing room.

“Tonight was a performance anything other than the performance we wanted to give.”

The now almost-obligatory chants for club legend Kenny Dalglish surfaced in the second half and at one point it seemed all four sides of Ewood Park were singing “You're getting sacked in the morning” to Hodgson.

Liverpool had lost just one of their previous 24 league meetings against Blackburn but even that was not enough encouragement for the travelling fans.

They voted with their feet, as they had done against Bolton on Saturday when Anfield was about 8,000 below capacity, and for the first time failed to fill the Darwen End at Ewood Park.

Pity the poor souls who made the short journey east as they had to endure a result more demoralising than the 1-0 defeat at home to Wolves last week.

Despite coming up against one of the most lightweight midfields in the Premier League — Olsson, David Dunn, Morten Gamst Pedersen and Junior Hoilett — Liverpool failed to impose themselves on the game.

Fernando Torres, who was on the end of some tough tackling but nothing over the top, flashed an early header wide but spent most of the game complaining to referee Andre Marriner.

Rovers looked far more threatening and after Dunn had volleyed over from the edge of the penalty area and Mame Biram Diouf had bundled an eight-yard shot straight at Jose Reina they found their shooting boots.

Defender Ryan Nelsen was given plenty of time in the centre circle to play the ball out to Diouf on the left and when he knocked it on Olsson raced past the static Glen Johnson to fire past Pepe Reina in the 32nd minute.

Five minutes later it was Sotirios Kyrgiakos' turn to be slow to react as Benjani controlled Pedersen's cross on his chest and turned to lash a ferocious volley past Reina.

The Liverpool manager's misery was complete when in the 57th minute Hoilett went around Martin Skrtel and Johnson as if they were not there and from the byline crossed for Benjani to score.

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