Hodgson backing Liverpool for Euro glory
Published 23:00 08/03/11 By MirrorFootball
Kenny Dalglish was last night backed in his bid to lift the Europa League - by much-maligned predecessor Roy Hodgson.
Former Liverpool boss Hodgson is convinced that King Kenny can mark his Second Coming by landing the club’s first trophy in nearly five years.
Hodgson was hounded out of Anfield earlier this year after a nightmare spell but was unbeaten in ten games in the competition, guiding Liverpool to the top of Group K.
Dalglish, who is preparing for the quarter-final first leg with FC Braga tomorrow night, paid tribute to Hodgson’s achievements in Europe after the win over Sparta Prague in the previous round.
And Hodgson insists Dalglish can revive the fallen giants and deliver their first silverware since Rafa Benitez’s FA Cup triumph in 2006.
"I can see Liverpool going all the way in Europe - and I sincerely hope they do," he said. “Their senior players will now be fit and they will put what they think is their strongest team for the quarter-finals.
“I think the team did extremely well in the Europa League when I was there. Those 10 matches we had were very tough, against very good opposition - arguably one or two of the teams were stronger than those you meet in the last 32.
“We got to that stage without using the bulk of our senior players. Steven Gerrard played a game and a half and Fernando Torres played just one.
“I don’t think Raul Meireles or Glen Johnson played at all, so it was guys like Martin Kelly, Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Spearing that got us through.
“I had no problem with the players, they did a decent job but we weren’t particularly lucky. I enjoyed my time working with them and I’m pleased to see the misfortune I suffered from has been turned around and they’re getting the results.
“Even in our misfortune I still had no doubts that they’d finish at worst seventh or eighth or even higher in the Premier League - that prediction I made for myself is coming true.”
Hodgson is now battling to stay in the Premier League after making a swift return to management with strugglers West Brom.
The 63-year-old will face Liverpool for the first time since his acrimonious exit when the two clubs meet at The Hawthorns on April 2.
And Hodgson insists the memories of his torturous experience at Anfield have already been erased as he bids to navigate a route to survival.
“Is Liverpool out of my system? Yes, there is no reason for me to think about Liverpool, other than enjoying watching the players I’ve worked with play," he said.
“As far as I’m concerned my time there was short and sweet, it’s now over and I’m fully focused on West Brom. Liverpool won’t play a huge part in my life until we play them.”