LONDON - Still no nearer to finding a solution to Liverpool's ills on the pitch, manager Roy Hodgson has made a plea for a return of the club's "famous support" to help turn the season around.
The 63-year-old was subjected to sardonic chants of "Hodgson for England" and calls for the return of Kenny Dalglish during Wednesday's demoralising 1-0 home defeat by bottom club Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Whether or not his call for backing for the team will placate the angry Anfield faithful or simply leave him more vulnerable remains to be seen but either way Hodgson's words represented a brutally frank assessment of his popularity.
"The famous Anfield support has not really been there ever since I came here," Hodgson said after Wolves deservedly grabbed a first win at Anfield for 27 years, leaving Liverpool just three points above the relegation zone.
"There were problems with the owners and then with Kenny (Dalglish) being such a legend here and not being given the job that was given to me.
"I do not like to hear those things, but I've had to live with it from the start. I suppose it's the Kop's way, Anfield's way, of showing they aren't happy with how things are."
Hodgson, the 7-4 favourite to be the next Premier League manager to be sacked with one leading bookmaker, also suggested the players are now playing with fear.
"I can only hope the fans become supporters as well because this is a time the club needs support," he said.
"It is a time for people to help us along but that was as bad a team performance as we have given, especially at Anfield.
"But the negativity does affect confidence because players are a little bit anxious to get on the ball and do what they can do for fear they're going to make a mistake."
The experienced Englishman was seen as a safe pair of hands to guide Liverpool through a rocky period on and off the field when he was recruited from Fulham to replace Rafael Benitez in July but so far he has failed to address the downward drift.
After finishing last season in seventh spot, things have become even bleaker and they will head into their New Year's Day fixture at home to Bolton Wanderers in 12th place.
With eight defeats already this season their "top four" membership seems a million miles away and even a finishing position above the likes of Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers looks unlikely on current form.
The January transfer window could offer some respite if American owners John W Henry and Tom Werner decide to show support to Hodgson with funds to freshen up the squad, although Hodgson ruled out a mass shake-up.
"It would be dangerous to clear a lot of players out on the basis of one game," Hodgson said. "Panic would be the wrong thing to do but I'm not the sole arbiter of that."comments