When Roy Hodgson arrived at relegation threatened Fulham in December 2007, many tipped the appointment as his last chance to prove just how good a coach he is in his native country and even the suggestion that a few years down the line he would be appointed Liverpool manager would have raised eyebrows.
And yet, after his exceptional work in the capital with Fulham where a rescue from what looked to be an inevitable relegation was followed by the club’s highest ever Premier League finish and then more recently a fairy tale run to last season’s Europa League Final, he is charged with the task of restoring integrity to Anfield after a tempestuous season both on and off the field.
As soon as Hodgson arrived on Merseyside, the rumour mill started to churn with the likes of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard being linked with big money moves away from the club due to Liverpool’s lack of financial resource, the appeal of the Champions League and perhaps a naïve discard of Hodgson’s common sense style of management.
However, Fernando Torres will have no doubt delighted his new manager by pledging his immediate future to the club and this may yet prove to be an early indication that Hodgson’s plan is starting to gel together.
The arrival of Joe Cole from Chelsea may well be seen as the perfect move by both parties. Hodgson proved at Fulham that he has somewhat of a Midas touch in the transfer market without the aid of lavish funds and he has become proficient at giving players a new lease of life. Bobby Zamora, Danny Murphy and Damien Duff have all benefited from Hodgson’s well thought out dealings and Joe Cole may also reap such rewards.
Other arrivals Milan Jovanovic and Danny Wilson, who were also unveiled before Liverpool’s departure for Macedonia and the Europa League qualifier against FW Rabotnicki, may not be the stellar names the Kop had perhaps hoped for but represent steady business for a club looking to re-build.
Danny Wilson was named SFA’s young player of the year last season and became a first-team regular at Ibrox last season making 24 appearances for the Gers earning numerous plaudits in Scotland whilst Milan Jovanovic won Belgian Footballer of the Year in 2008 and was the league’s top scorer in 2009. He will be more recently remembered for scoring the winner for Serbia against Germany at this year’s World Cup.
Furthermore, Liverpool hope to add Aston Villa defender Luke Young to their squad which will boost the sparse numbers in the full-back positions with Emiliano Insua set to complete a move to Fiorentina, Fabio Aurelio have already left on a free transfer and Phillipe Degen being told he can look elsewhere.
Hodgson’s job will be likened to the magnitude of his time at Inter Milan but his admired work at Fulham will no doubt stand him in good stead at Anfield.