Hodgson: Reds owners are realistic
Liverpool's owners realise regaining the club's UEFA Champions League status will be a difficult task, according to manager Roy Hodgson.
However, the 63-year-old believes it will be achieved with the necessary investment in players and implementing the right structure behind the scenes. On Monday principal owner John Henry labelled results this season as "unacceptable".
Hodgson agreed but insisted there would not be any knee-jerk reaction from New England Sports Ventures, despite continued speculation about his own future. "The owners are very intelligent people and have a very clear vision. What they want is for the club to be in the top four," he said.
"But what they also realise that coming in when they have come in (buying the club in October), and me coming in when I did (July), it might not be quite as easy as all that. It is not a question of waving a magic wand and we are going to get there. There is a lot of work to be done and I need to know at some stage that I am having a bit more input into who is coming into the club so I can take even more responsibility for it.
"At the moment I am working largely with the team who have been here for a large period of time but I am happy with that and the work those players are doing, I am not complaining in any way. But the owners know there is work to do in every area of the club, not least in terms of recruitment and it will be interesting to see how quickly we push that on. The quick fix may not be the right thing, it may be a more patient approach and they mentioned that.
"It may take some time - hopefully sooner than later, hopefully this year rather than next or next year rather than the year after. With the owners' help we will get it 100 per cent right because we will improve the team as well. Everything for me with the owners has been 100 per cent positive, they have been absolutely excellent."
While form in the Premier League have been inconsistent, Liverpool's results in Europe has been impressive. They have yet to lose in nine UEFA Europa League matches and have qualified as Group K winners ahead of tonight's final game at home to Utrecht.
Hodgson said their European exploits, often with a weakened team, have helped keep things ticking over during some of the more difficult moments of his six-month reign. But now they are into the knockout stage he admits he feels a responsibility to deliver. "This is a club with a great legacy, a club which expects - not just wants - to win things and certainly in Europe where we have been very successful," he said.
"I do feel the pressure of that legacy and as a result I am really satisfied I, not wanting to be the Liverpool manager who didn't get his team into the knockout stage, have had the courage to do what we have done in Europe. If I could be as satisfied with our 17 league games as I am with our European games I would be a very happy man."
Hodgson intends to play a strong side tonight with striker Fernando Torres and goalkeeper Jose Reina set to start.