Let Rafa have him

Pocket

It was no surprise today to hear Roy Hodgson confirm that Javier Mascherano wants to quit Liverpool, with Inter Milan and his old friend Rafa Benitez the likely destination. Personally, I hope Hodgson gets shot of him, and hopefully commands a large fee for the over-rated Argentina captain.

For me, Mascherano is the modern typical footballer, he made it clear he wanted to go to Barcelona last summer, and was then happy to sign a new contract with a nice rise in his pay, before again turning around and saying he wants to leave.

The way he has gone about his business is nothing short of a disgrace. He blatently ignored Hodgson’s attempts to contact him, and his representatives made his intention to leave public. He is basically doing all he can to burn his bridges and force Hodgson to have to sell him.

Before signing for Liverpool he had a spell at West Ham with his compatriot Carlos Tevez, during this time he also seemed happy enough to pick up his wages without making any meaningful contribution to the Hammers plight.

Lets be honest about this, Mascherano is far from ther greatest footballer to ever grace the Premier League and his presence won’t be too badly missed. His temperament is also a bit suspect, and his brain dosen’t seem the sharpest, as his sending off at Old Trafford a couple of seasons ago proved.

If Liverpool get around £25-£30 Million for a player of his ability, then they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Go for it Roy.

Why Anfield for Joe Cole?

Pocket

Does the arrival of Joe Cole at Anfield, as announced on Monday, signal the first part of Roy Hodgson’s rebuilding work? Or is it possible that Cole is being signed to fill a gap about to be created by the departure of Steven Gerrard?

One thing that is for sure is that it is a major coup for Roy Hodgson. There was one or two discontenting voices coming from the Anfield faithfull at the appointment of Hodgson. A signing of this calibre should appease any doubters that Hodgson isn’t a big enough name to attract the star players to Anfield.

Should Gerrard go, then Cole should be the ideal replacement for him. Or if Gerrard stays, then Hodgson could have a top class attacking trio of the two Englishmen and Fernando Torres, should he remain at Anfield too. And the signs are that he will, as yet there is no reason to suggest Torres wants out.

It is also hard too see why Cole would have signed if Gerrard and Torres where about too leave, and he would surely have got a commitment from Roy Hodgson that there is no plans to cash in on their two most valuable assets before he signed.

Questions about Cole continue to be asked. Why didn’t Ancelotti or Capello seem to rate him high enough to make him a regular in either of their teams? Also Jose Mourinho didn’t seem to trust him enough. Ferguson and Wenger also didn’t appear too keen to sign him. Could all these managers be wrong?

For me, I think that Cole has been unfairly pigeon holed by certain managers as this bloke who is handing to come off the bench and change things, or someone who dosen’t do his defensive duties too well.

Although his problems have mainly been with foreign managers, it looks more of a perennial English issue to me. In a way similar to people like Hoddle or Le Tissier, Cole seems to be a victim of his talent.

Instead of being given the freedom to express himself he is bogged down playing in roles where he is expected to do his defensive duties and is not given the license to do what he does best, and just be an attacking force.

The sort of player that a team like Holland or Spain would pick and ask him to do what he is good at. Rather than the English policy of selecting a player and asking him to play a role that is not suited to him.

Hopefully Hodgson has a clear role for Joe, and that his signing is because Cole likes Hodgson’s plans and will find himself playing in his preferred role. If Cole could really come of age and be the player we all believe he can be, not only will it be good for Liverpool, but England could also prosper from it.

I really hope that Roy Hodgson is a success at Liverpool as it is about time an end was put to this myth that if the big clubs need a new manager they have to look abroad.

There are some good English coaches around, but with the instant success formula needed in the Premier League no big clubs are prepared to take a chance on them. And as a result of that we now have a foreigner making a mess of the national team.

So come on Roy Hodgson and Joe Cole, lets prove the doubters wrong, and show them that the English are good enough!

Give Roy a chance

Pocket

I was surprised and disappointed to hear all the negative noises coming from Liverpool fans after the confirmation of Roy Hodgson as the clubs new manager on Thursday.

I was also surprised to hear fans saying that they didn’t want a defensive negative brand of football coming to the club next season, I must have missed something there as I thought they had just got rid of the man who employed that style.

There was also people saying that Hodgson wasn’t flash enough, or a big enough name, that they wanted a Mourinho style manager!

Well there is an obvious problem with the man himself. Even if he hadn’t gone to Real Madrid, is there really Liverpool fans out there who thought he would have come to Anfield with the clubs current predicament?

As for the big name managers, who did they want then? Who is out there and available?

Maybe Sven? Or another Capello? Or just any old foreigner as apparently it sounds better?

If they wanted a flash manager then what about Big Ron? Or even Barry Fry?

Liverpool are a proper football club, and Roy Hodgson is a proper football man. I hope and expect the Liverpool fans will get behind Hodgson, afterall they gave Rafa Benitez magnificent support and always back their managers through thick and thin.

I don’t expect them to be any different with Hodgson, and with the fans on his side I expect a wery wery good year for Liverpool, and to see some much needed stability brought back to the club.

Roy Hodgson still odds on for Liverpool

Pocket

Towards the end of last week it seemed a racing certainty that the next permanent manager of Liverpool was to be Roy Hodgson. It was then reported on 5 Live on Friday that there could be two other candidates in the running, and then on Saturday we heard the story from Marseille president Jean-Claude Dassier that the Reds have approached him about the water carrier, Didier Deschamps.

All this seems to have triggered the safety first approach from the bookies as Totesport, Paddy Power and William Hill all suspended betting on the market with Hodgson around the 1/4 mark at the time.

He is currently drifting on Betfair as well, at 1.6 early on Sunday morning. Hodgson had been traded all the way down to 1.01 in the last week while Deschamps is available at 20/1 on there, although liquidity is very low.

Reading between the lines there would appear to be a shortage of information currently coming out of Anfield. With the main bookies suspending, and the liquidity so low on Betfair, it would appear no one really knows what is going on in this market.

Liverpool fans, be afraid

Pocket

Be very afraid, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Sven Goran Eriksson has thrown his hat into the ring for the managers job, and with an admission that apparently he is a life long Liverpool fan!!

I believe that Liverpool did the right thing in sacking Benitez, but even I’d have to admit that Rafa would surely be a better bet than Sven.

The bookies currently have Eriksson 4th in the betting at a best price of 7/1 with Ladbrokes. Martin O’Neill is favourite at 7/4, Roy Hodgson is 9/4 and King Kenny is 4/1.

According to one Liverpool fan I heard on a radio phone in, Roy Hodgson isn’t up to the job, as he has never managed a club as big as Liverpool.

Make your own minds up on that one!

I’m sure he’s never managed a club in as much disarray as Liverpool. The fan in question also said he would gladly welcome back a man who hasn’t managed for the best part of 10 years though.

Romantic as a Dalglish return sounds, football is a serious business and surely Kenny has had his day.

A caretaker capacity, yes by all means. But next permanent manager…..not for me.

Well done Fulham

Pocket

It was great to see Fulham pull off another remarkable Europa League victory tonight and take their place as England’s sole remaining representative in Europe this season.

Their 2-1 victory over Hamburg to get to the Europa League final was an amazing achievement for Roy Hodgson and his Fulham team.

Even though Fulham were 1-0 down and needing 2 goals for a long period of the game, I always got the feeling something would happen.

When it did come, what a strike it was from Simon Davies to level the scores on the night. The goal was more reminiscent of a move between Xavi and Messi, than Danny Murphy and Davies. If it had been scored by Barcelona we wouldn’t have heard the end of it.

After Zolton Gera scored Fulham’s second in the 76th minute the countdown to the final whistle was on, the last 15 minutes must have felt like an hour for Fulham fans, it did for me.

It would be great to see Fulham now beat Atletico and win a trophy that no one would have given them a chance of at the start of the season.

After overcoming two qualifying rounds before the group stages Fulham have beaten CSKA Sofia, Basle, Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus, Wolfsburg and Hamburg on their way to the final.

Roma needed an injury time equaliser in the group stages to avoid adding their name to the list of Roy Hodgson’s scalps, no wonder Roy is being spoken off as the manager of the year by no less than the likes of Harry Redknapp and Alex Ferguson.

Davies ‘Barca like’ goal