Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
When New England Sports Ventures finally bought Liverpool in October new owner John W Henry did not have to wait long to understand the enormity of the challenge he faces to turn around the fortunes of England’s most successful club.
Just days after the deal was clinched and a wave of optimism swept through Anfield, Liverpool’s inadequacies on the pitch were laid bare in a 2-0 defeat at Merseyside rivals Everton.
More than two months later manager Roy Hodgson, recruited by the former regime, has managed no semblance of an improvement on the pitch and his call for the Anfield faithful to show his team their “famous support” is likely to be seen as a backhanded compliment at best.
So as the transfer window starts to creak open, the so far quiet Henry will find himself in the spotlight with some important decisions to make.
Interim Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink is adamant that he will be leaving at the end of the season to concentrate on the Russia job.
Chelsea fans who had been hoping the Dutchman would decide to stay must now start contemplating a fourth manager in two years.
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was told his position was secure after the 2007 European champions finished fifth in Serie A last term and missed out on this season’s Champions League.
However, two defeats in their opening two league matches have put him under pressure again. The arrivals of Ronaldinho and Andriy Shevchenko were designed to help stop the rot but Milan’s main problem last season was a static midfield and the issue remains unresolved.
Henk Ten Cate’s sacking by Chelsea won’t make the headlines that greeted the departures of Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant, but it could be significant in Spain as well as in England.
Ten Cate, the 53-year-old Dutchman, was little known in Barcelona when he was appointed as Frank Rijkaard’s assistant in 2003. He soon won a reputation as a hard taskmaster in training and a disciplinarian when it came to man management. He was also praised as a clever tactician but he was content to keep a low profile in the media.