Former Liverpool stars rallied to the support of beleaguered manager Roy Hodgson today as speculation mounted that the Anfield boss could be fired after yet another defeat. Kevin Keegan and John Barnes insisted Hodgson was capable of turning around Liverpool's season in the wake of a 3-1 loss at Blackburn on Wednesday which edged him closer to the exit.
Liverpool's owners New England Sports Ventures have reportedly begun searching for Hodgson's successor after deciding that the former Fulham boss is not the man to lead them into a new era. But although Liverpool's loss to Blackburn heaped pressure on Hodgson, Keegan believes the 63-year-old can revitalise the club's fortunes, starting with Sunday's FA Cup tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
"The opportunity comes at Manchester United to get back on track," Keegan said. "It's a tough one. Liverpool are a big club, big expectation, underperformed over a number of years - way before Roy Hodgson went in there. The decline at Liverpool has not just happened in the past three to six months. It's been going on for a period of time.
"They've got to give him time but it's the one thing you don't get, as we all know. The clock ticks on the wall and managers don't get time. They thought he was right four months ago and he did a great job at Fulham, so they've got to back him."
Barnes believed Hodgson could yet win over the critics if Liverpool's results improved. "You know what football's like. It's results driven and pick up some results and the tide changes," he said.
"As much as Liverpool aren't doing well now, if they put some results together, beat Manchester United in the FA Cup, hopefully, and then do well, things change. But in football, generally speaking, if you lose, you're going to be under pressure, particularly at a big club."