I could write a normal preview for the Bolton match tomorrow, but there's only one story line that's worth discussing. The buzz around Broad Street is that this very well could be Roy Hodgson's last game as manager, and I can't say I'm surprised. One of the things I find so special about football and why I follow it so is it seems to me the last sport left where there's a genuine connection between the club, players, and fans. Maybe I'm deluding myself, and purposely so, but American sports fans long ago gave up the idea that the teams and players we support give a flying fuck about what we think. But I still think that's the case in footy. And Hodgson's attack on the Liverpool support is only going to make things worse. When the fans are upset and tense, it translates to the players. You can see it. The opposite is true as well. I can't think of a manager who has taken on the club's support and lived to tell the tale. Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are far too smart to do so, even though they could probably get away with it.
I've thought of all the ways that I could play devil's advocate and defend Hodgson, just for discussion's sake. It all began with the simple fact he was the only one who would take the job. The ownership was crumbling, players were looking to the exit door, there was no money, the team had just collapsed off its second place finish to 7th. It was not an appealing opening. Though I wasn't in the boardroom, it sounded like it came down to Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish. King Kenny hadn't been in a managerial post in ages, and I can't argue with trusting the guy who had been managing in the Premier League currently more.
I though if i could defend the Paul Konchesky signing. I think I can defend the signing. Liverpool needed a left back, and one on the cheap. Hodgson went with the one he trusted. But what I can't defend is the constant playing of him when he's well proven he's not up to it, especially after Aureilo returned to fitness. Joe Cole was pretty much a flier, and it hasn't worked out. That doesn't mean it was an awful decision at the time, considering he was on a free transfer.
It's not his fault that David Ngog hasn't really developed. Same with Ryan Babel. That's on Benitez. It's not Hodgson's fault that Lucas is limited, or that Daniel Agger can't stay healthy. It's not Hodgson's fault that Carragher has aged so quickly, and his struggles have assfucked Martin Skrtel's confidence and game right into the ground. Is it Roy's fault that Glenn Johnson no longer cares? Maybe, maybe not.
But it is Hodgson's fault that Torres has become so disillusioned with the team's play that he no longer cares. It is Hodgson's fault that so many players are not put in a position to succeed. Ngog and Torres can't play together, Babel could but doesn't get a chance, Meireles being shifted out wide, Kyrgiakos allowed to breathe, Martin Kelly not getting more of a run out, Gerrard playing so deep that he's been rendered ineffective.
Hodgson claims he has the support of the team, but anyone who watched Wednesday knows that not to be the case. The players were sniping at each other when they bothered to care at all. If he had their support, they would have carried out at least a hint of his plan. If he had one. They didn't.
If it is true that Roy gets one game to turn things around, then you might as well fire him now. What are you going to see tomorrow at home to a pretty formidable Bolton side that you don't already know? The depths of Wednesday cannot be turned around so quickly that this week couldn't end horribly with a loss at home to Bolton and a crushing at Old Trafford in the FA Cup. If he's so close to the edge now, why not just push?