A decision which represents a major policy shift from earlier on in the season, Fernando Torres looks set to start in Liverpool’s final elegiac Europa League group match. With Liverpool’s qualification sealed, it had been thought that Hodgson would turn to youth as he has throughout the competition. By fielding a stronger line-up than expected, he highlights his concern with the form of individuals such as Torres and the team in general.
“Where we are at this point isn’t acceptable,” Hodgson told The Guardian, hoping that his decision to field a stronger team against FC Utrecht will be the turning point for their season. “I’m hoping that Fernando will have a good game that will improve his confidence. There is nothing to lose.”
Hodgson: No sack concerns.
Following John W. Henry and Tom Werner’s 90-minute discussion with Liverpool fans on Liverpool’s official television channel, Roy Hodgson said that he had no concerns about being sacked, in spite of Liverpool’s ‘unacceptable’ league form.
“I don’t have any worries, fears or concerns,” he told The Guardian. “As someone who prides himself as a professional who knows the job, you would have to excuse me for not going down the route of ‘Who can we get rid of next?’” Nevertheless, Hodgson admits that his fate may be less than secure, particularly in light of a spate of recent surprising sackings which has seen Sam Allardyce and Chris Hughton lose their jobs. He knows a swift improvement is imperative.
Gerrard injury latest.
Steven Gerrard had initially been pencilled in for a return to action against Fulham this weekend. However, Roy Hodgson is concerned about the extent of his captain’s progress, meaning the date of Gerrard’s return is in doubt. The talismanic midfielder has not played for Liverpool since being injured on international duty on November 13 and with Liverpool still spluttering rather than motoring into form, his presence has been missed.
Gerrard would need to be back in full training by Thursday to be considered – a decision made by Liverpool’s medical staff rather than Hodgson. “We have to be careful there is no risk of the injury reoccurring and I am in the hands to some extent of the sports science people as to when he can come back,” he told skysports.com.