Friday’s papers: Hodgson’s last chance

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Despite rumours aplenty throughout Thursday, it looks as if Roy Hodgson will undergo a press conference at Anfield at 1pm today ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup meeting with Manchester Utd.

After Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Blackburn, coupled with a frankly awful performance, Hodgson’s job hung by the thinnest of threads. But, if this morning’s papers are to believed, he has one more chance to prove himself.

Unfortunately for him, it’s away at Old Trafford.

Rory Smith in the Telegraph writes:

Roy Hodgson appears to have been given one last chance to save his job after unexpectedly remaining as Liverpool manager on Thursday despite the mounting conviction of the club’s owners to end his six-month tenure.

Smith, seemingly presuming Hodgson’s one last chance will end in disaster for the man from Croydon, then goes onto discuss potential candidates for the role of next permanent Reds boss, with Frenchman Didier Deschamps ruling himself out of the running by committing to Marseille yesterday.

Ian Herbert in The Independent says Hodgson has been left in limbo by owners John Henry and Tom Werner, with a decision either way on his future yet to be announced.

He points out that whilst there was movement to back their managers at Chelsea and Aston Villa, it was a strangely quiet day at Anfield, despite the biggest barrage of rumours about his departure to date.

Many fans spent Thursday glued to Twitter waiting for news on the Hodgson situation. Many rumours went flying around, retweeted, and then brought back down to earth as Herbert explains:

The Hodgson rumour mill reached its most intense – and bizarre – in mid-afternoon when it was tweeted that Radio 2 had broken news of the manager’s dismissal, leading Richard Burgess, the BBC’s head of sports news to respond: “Just for clarification, Radio 2 has not reported that Hodgson has been sacked.” First suggestions that Hodgson had been handed his cards surfaced on Twitter within a few hours of Wednesday’s defeat.

Herbert looks at Liverpool’s options for an immediate replacement for Hodgson, should he be sacked imminently, and that fans’ favourite Kenny Dalglish is “Not cruising in Dubai, but close” according to his wife, Marina.

With Hodgson’s many friends in football rallying round in the support of the former Fulham boss, including Kevin Keegan, John Barnes and Steve McManaman, some papers this morning look to see the damage the wait is doing to the club.

The indecisions and lack of public response from the club’s owners so far to either support or rid of Hodgson is frustrating fans – and surely the players too.

The Guardian’s Sid Lowe discusses the idea that a lot more damage is yet to come, with senior players fed up and frustrated by the last couple of years. Should Hodgson be replaced, Liverpool will be at their third manager in just ten months.

Lowe writes:

“The choice currently before Liverpool’s owners, John W Henry and Tom Werner, is a huge one which will bring with it significant consequences. For some senior players sacking Hodgson is a step in the right direction. But while Hodgson continuing at the club would guarantee summer departures, his exit does not necessarily mean that Liverpool will be able to keep hold of their most important assets.”

Who knows, maybe the time difference from here to Boston – where Henry and Werner are thought to be – will give the owners time to consider Hodgson’s position and make a formal announcement one way or the other.

Or maybe Liverpool’s lack of having a chief executive yet is holding things back.

But a press conference is scheduled for 1pm at Anfield today. If it is to be a normal press conference, the questions on the agenda will be about Sunday’s tie against Utd – in which Liverpool will bring with them a 9,000 strong away support.

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