Club Focus – Liverpool – Overdue win relieves pressure on Hodgson

Fernando Torres scored his first goal since August to earn struggling Liverpool only their second Premier League victory this season. The Spaniard has only netted twice in the league this campaign but both have been winning strikes, which signals the importance of Torres to the Merseyside club. Some fans are beginning question his worth, particularly because of his constant injury problems, but Torres’ current record of 58 goals in just 88 league games proves his outstanding quality and deserved status as one of the most lethal strikers in the world. All players go through rough patches at many points during their career, however one thing must be remembered – form is temporary, class is permanent.

Roy Hodgson will also be a relieved man after leading the Reds to a win against Blackburn Rovers. Hodgson has been under an incredible amount of pressure recently, with several other managers being linked with the Liverpool job. Frank Rijkaard, Roberto Donadoni, Manuel Pellegrini and Martin O’Neill are only some of the men who are emerging as candidates to replace Roy Hodgson, and the former Fulham boss would almost certainly have gone if Liverpool had lost at Anfield yesterday. However, the Reds manager has another three points to his name and will remain in the job as long as he gets the results.

Liverpool unquestionably performed well against Blackburn. The Reds had a lot of possession, several chances on goal and were in comfortable control for much of the game. Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who was one of the few bodies to perform well against Everton last weekend, continued his impressive form at the back and acted as a rock in defence. Kyrgiakos was a threat in front of goal too and it was his powerful header which gave Liverpool the lead. Gerrard was asking questions of the opposition all afternoon and Fernando Torres was at his energetic best, running around and linking up well with the midfield. The Spaniard deserved his goal.

Jamie Carragher’s own goal was the only bit of misfortune for Liverpool as Blackburn scored with their first real opportunity of the match. Rovers did have more possession in the second half of the game and there were nervous moments for the Anfield crowd with their side 2-1 up; however Liverpool were good value for their three points.

Despite the victory, Liverpool remain in the bottom three and Roy Hodgson cannot pretend that things are back to normal again. Much of the media attention this week has been on the likes of Jose Reina, Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson, who are reportedly unhappy at the situation the club are in and would like to leave. Prior to today, Torres has looked sluggish and tired. Questions about his commitment to the club will not go away unless he consistently performs to the level he was at two seasons ago. Meanwhile, Roy Hodgson is still under pressure to achieve and turns thing around at Anfield. Two wins from nine games is well below average for such a successful club and Hodgson is still treading on thin ice with regards to his future. Win at Bolton next week and things will definitely be looking much brighter for the manager, however a defeat at the hands of Owen Coyle’s side would see Hodgson once again facing the chop.

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