Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has apologised to the club's supporters after criticising them in an angry outburst following Wednesday's shock 1-0 defeat against struggling Wolves at Anfield.
Hodgson was furious after sections of the Liverpool support showed their displeasure at his reign with a sarcastic chant of "Hodgson for England" before calling for Reds legend Kenny Dalglish to be installed as manager. Liverpool are just three points above the relegation zone after their worst start to a Premier League season and Hodgson is facing a fight to save his job.
The former Fulham boss, who only replaced Rafael Benitez as boss in June, said after the game he had never had the "famous Anfield support" in his six months in charge. That was seen as a clear attack on his critics in the crowd but, with his fans said to be angry at his comments, Hodgson today moved to quell the unrest.
"Things have been misinterpreted," Hodgson said. "I'm afraid people have taken one small comment where I was describing my situation. I was responding to a question about how it felt to be jeered by fans, making it clear it hurts me and I was disappointed by it because no-one wants to feel they are unpopular.
"I understand it is up to me to take it on the chin but it's not been an easy ride for me. It's been an uphill struggle and I was not the first choice appointment with a lot of fans. But if I have offended them in any way I deeply regret that. All I can do is apologise and make it perfectly clear there was nothing offensive in my comments."
Hodgson said supporters were perfectly entitled to their views and accepted he and the team had to do more to improve their enjoyment.
"Fans always have the right to show their anger and disapproval - we've got fantastic fans but you have to give them something to be passionate about and we didn't do that on Wednesday," he added. "I don't think they were happy with anyone and as manager you are first in the firing line. The Anfield support will always be there and what's more it's better in times of crisis."
The humiliation of losing at home to the likes of Northampton in the League Cup, as well as Wolves and Blackpool in the league, has severely damaged Hodgson's reputation at Anfield. The last time Liverpool started a season this badly was in 1953-54 and thousands of Reds supporters have signed a petition demanding that Hodgson be sacked.
However, the former Inter Milan and Blackburn boss has no intention of quitting such a prestigious post and he vowed to stay and fight to get the team back on track. "It has taken me a long while to get to this elevated position coaching one of the best clubs in Europe," he said.
"I was very pleased to get the job - I left a very good job to take it - so the last thing in my mind is walking away from a club like this or walking away from football. I want to be here, I want to change things, I want to turn it around and I want to help the club and the new owners get the success they want.
"There is no security as a Premier League manager and when you take any job you don't take it for security, you take it because you believe you can do it and do it well."
Liverpool owners New England Sports Ventures, headed by John W Henry, could axe Hodgson if results continue to slide, but he called on the Americans to show patience. "I can only beg for the patience and the time we need to do it, especially considering the difficult start we've had," he added.
"Let's not make everything ridiculously doomy and gloomy because we lost a game. We are not in a crisis situation but on Wednesday we let ourselves down very badly and we have to bounce back and give a totally different performance against Bolton on Saturday."