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The Liverpool owners’ decision to use this weekend’s break for the FA Cup as a chance to sit back and ponder the club’s future under Roy Hodgson is a rare patient act in the hasty world of soccer but it might not end up doing the manager any favours.
The Anfield club, just four points clear of the Premier League relegation zone, face rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round of the Cup on Sunday after another week of speculation and supporter unrest surrounding Hodgson’s future.
Even with the ‘magic’ of the FA Cup, a win against league leaders United seems unlikely on current form, and a defeat to their bitter rivals who could field a slightly weakened side, would only rub salt into already very sore wounds on Merseyside.
A defeat to United does not go down well even when Liverpool are fighting for the title or Champions League places, but when they are faltering in mid-table, a loss would add further ammunition to the club’s unhappy fans.
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.
Lucas Leiva has often been dismissed as a mediocre battler with little or no star quality, but the much-maligned midfielder’s performance against Chelsea marked him out as an influential part of Liverpool’s recent recovery.
Few players have attracted as much ire as the combative Brazilian who was reportedly close to strolling out the Anfield exit door during the summer with a host of European also-rans touted as a possible destination.
The appointment of Damien Comolli as Liverpool’s director of football strategy represents a step into the unknown for the Anfield club, with statistical analysis likely to replace the traditional eye for talent in the transfer market.
Comolli, like the club’s new owner John Henry, is a devotee of sabermetrics, a form of sporting number crunching used to judge the value of players.
This week the podcast panel discuss the clash of European aristocracy at the Bernabeu, where nine-times winners Real Madrid host seven-tiems champions AC Milan, plus the Wayne Rooney saga and the plight of Liverpool.
Kevin Fylan is joined by Owen Wyatt, Mark Meadows, Jon Bramley and Toby Davis
With their new owners perched in the stands and the shackles of their long-running takeover saga finally cast off, the Merseyside Derby was meant to be the dawn of a new era for Liverpool.
Instead the 2-0 defeat served to highlight the depth of the problems engulfing the club and under-pressure boss Roy Hodgson.
Buying Liverpool may prove the easy part for new owners who will be expected to spend freely to rescue the five times European champions from their worst start to a season in more than 50 years.
What John W Henry really needs is for Fernando Torres to recapture the form that made him the most feared striker in the Premier League.
Here we go again. After another legal victory in the High Court for the Liverpool board and main creditor RBS, all eyes turn to Dallas, where a new hearing on the ownership battle is underway.
Wednesday’s original ruling had, it seemed, paved the way for Liverpool to be sold for 300 million pounds ($479.8 million) to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) — owners of the Boston Red Sox — but that was before George Gillett and Tom Hicks obtained a temporary block in a Texas district court.
Updates at 0029 GMT, Thursday after Texas court injunction and Liverpool statement.
Liverpool were given the go-ahead to sell the club when a High Court judge backed the club’s board but another court battle could be on the cards after current co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett obtained an injunction in Texas to block the sale.
Liverpool supporters will be glad to be possibly getting rid of their current U.S. owners but probably did not envisage another set of Americans taking over.
The board of have agreed the sale of the club to New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the owners of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.