Roy Hodgson and Liverpool, arguably the most unsuccessful marriage in their respective histories.
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The veteran boss was appointed as Reds manager in the summer of 2010, replacing Rafael Benitez, but little did he know how difficult and brief his spell at Anfield would be.
Hodgson is an esteemed manager, but his time at Liverpool was a black mark
The 74-year-old landed the job at one of the Premier League’s traditional big clubs after miraculously guiding Fulham to the Europa League final a few months before.
He is back on Merseyside again on Saturday when his Watford side take on Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple-chasing Liverpool – live on talkSPORT.
And Hodgson will be hoping his return is a happy one after what was a turbulent spell at Liverpool.
Hodgson had the task of rebuilding Liverpool’s fortunes after they finished seventh in the 2009/10 season.
What didn’t help him, though, was the other sides around Europe attempting to steal away some of the Reds’ most prized assets.
Juventus and Manchester City were both linked with striker Fernando Torres, while Arsenal and Manchester United were vying for goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
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Torres and Reina were two of Liverpool’s most consistent players with the former being one of the most clinical strikers in the world, and the latter rarely letting the ball into the back of his net
Hodgson had to juggle so many things at Liverpool, even before a ball had been kicked
Barcelona, meanwhile, were keen on defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano, who eventually left near the end of the summer transfer window.
Even though he lost Mascherano, Hodgson kept hold of Torres and Reina, and had some excellent players at the club such as Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Dirk Kuyt.
However, the players he signed didn’t exactly do much to help Liverpool get back into the top four of the league.
A summer of questionable additions included Danny Wilson from Rangers, Paul Konchesky from Fulham, Christian Poulsen from Juventus, Joe Cole after his contract expired at Chelsea, Raul Meireles from Porto and Brad Jones from Middlesbrough.
Jonjo Shelvey and Milan Jovanovic were also brought in from Charlton Athletic and Standard Liege respectively, but they were signed before Hodgson came in.
But the vast majority of those new recruits had little to no impact with Konchesky, Poulsen and Meireles gone by the following summer.
Liverpool FC via Getty
Sorry to give you nightmares, Liverpool fans
Liverpool FC via Getty
“He’s not that bad on the ball, but let’s not beat about the bush and try to disguise the fact – he’s had a bad start,” Hodgson said of Poulsen in 2010
Liverpool FC via Getty
Carragher and Gerrard did so much for Liverpool, but even they couldn’t help Hodgson succeed
The signings didn’t help him, and to sum up the bad luck Hodgson had at Anfield, Cole was sent off within 45 minutes of his debut against Arsenal.
The arrivals proved to be a warning sign, as Hodgson managed to pick up just 13 wins in his 31 matches in charge.
Of those games included some humiliating results such as a 2-1 defeat to Blackpool, a third round League Cup exit to Northampton Town and a defeat in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, which incidentally, was the last time Liverpool lost there.
At the time, Liverpool were going through a lot of off-field issues under former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett who had run up nearly £300million worth of debts. That certainly didn’t help Hodgson.
On New Year’s Day 2011, Liverpool hosted Bolton which was seen by only 35,000 fans, the lowest Anfield had seen in the Premier League since 2004
Their poor running of Liverpool nearly put the club into administration, before New England Sports Ventures (now Fenway Sports Group) came in and bought the club in October 2010.
Their arrival gave the fans a much needed boost, but it did little for Hodgson.
FSG didn’t see an improvement in results, and it then cost the boss his job.
He departed by mutual consent after a 3-1 defeat to Blackburn on January 5, with the Reds lying in 12th place.
FSG gave Hodgson some time to try and turn the ship around, but was unable to do so
Anfield icon Kenny Dalglish was brought in, and whilst it took a bit of time, Liverpool’s results improved drastically, and they went on to finish sixth that season.
Hodgson had failed miserably, and Gerrard, working as a pundit for BT Sport at the time, revealed how difficult training was under him, and how Liverpool fans wanted King Kenny to takeover after Benitez left.
“I think the one I can remember is Kenny taking over from Roy here [Liverpool],” he said.
“I think Roy Hodgson’s final days and weeks were really tough for him personally, but you could feel it as a player, the tension in the crowd, they were singing Kenny’s name every five, ten minutes.
Liverpool FC via Getty
Gerrard scored in Hodgson’s last game, and also missed a penalty
“And I think before Roy was announced as manager, the majority of the fans wanted Kenny in anyway.
“So yeah the final days of Roy was tough and then when Kenny came, the atmosphere changed in the club and the players got a lift from that.
“It was uncomfortable playing in the atmosphere under Roy, it felt tense and I think the players, you could feel them going into their shell.”
After Liverpool, Hodgson rebuilt his reputation with successful spells at West Brom and Crystal Palace by keeping them in the Premier League, which then led to him landing the England job.
Whilst a tall order, he will hope to do the same for the Hornets, and can kick start their survival bid with an unlikely win at his former side.
Liverpool vs Watford is live on talkSPORT at 12:30pm on Saturday April 2.
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