Carragher pleads for patience
By Ben Collins - Sky Sports
Jamie Carragher has warned Liverpool fans
there will be no quick fix at Anfield.
Roy Hodgson replaced Rafa Benitez as manager after the Reds
finished seventh last season but their poor form has
continued into the new term.
Liverpool have won just one of their first six Premier
League games and were dumped out of the Carling Cup by
League Two Northampton at Anfield.
And although the Reds stayed top of their Europa League
group with a hard-fought 0-0 draw at FC Utrecht on Thursday
night, Carragher admitted the performance was not up to
Hodgson's men struggled to create chances and were
ultimately happy with a share of the spoils but Carragher
highlighted that the club is in a transitional period.
"It's a good point," he told the Liverpool Echo. "But we all
know that we can improve on the performance. In the new
format of the Europa League, you've got to try to win your
home games first of all.
"If you then follow up by not losing your away games, you
are doing okay and that's what we have done. But we know we
can get better.
Work in progress
"This is a work in progress. We are steadily getting there
and if we can get three points at the weekend, we'll head
into the two-week break looking forward to the derby."
While most Liverpool fans are eager for their American
owners to sell up and move on, some have already called for
But Carragher, who played under both previous managers
Gerard Houllier and Benitez, stressed that it will take time
for Hodgson to turn things around.
"I know everyone thinks that when you get a new manager, you
start winning every week but in Gerard Houllier's first
season (1998/99) we finished seventh and in Rafa's we
finished fifth (2004/05)," added the veteran defender.
"It's not always a case that when you bring in a new manager
everything changes - we finished seventh last year because
we were the seventh best team in the league.
"We are not all of a sudden going to be pulling up trees
left, right and centre. As I said, it's a work in progress
and we have to work through it."
Liverpool were fortunate to claim a 2-2 draw at home to
Sunderland last Saturday and they will be eager to head into
the international break on a high as they host
newly-promoted Blackpool on Sunday.
"We said that we needed a win against Sunderland after the
Northampton game, didn't we - every game you play for
Liverpool is vital, " Carragher added.
"When you have the two-week break, you feel good if you go
into it with a win and it is something that we will be
looking to do.
"But Blackpool have been the story of the season. They will
be desperate to make a statement at Anfield and it's up to
us to match their enthusiasm."
Kuyt positive for partnership
Dirk Kuyt is confident that a potential
partnership with Fernando Torres can yield goals should they
be given more chances.
The Dutch international was given a rare start alongside the
Spaniard in their goalless draw with Utrecht on Thursday in
the Europa League, but they struggled to create chances.
Kuyt and Torres showed some nice link-up play in stages
however, and the 29-year-old felt that should they can score
goals together should manager Roy Hodgson give them the
He also backed the under-fire Torres to get over what has
been a considerable dip in form by his standards and bounce
back in style.
"Tonight we created a good chance together," he said.
"Against Sunderland and West Brom it worked well, so I think
we can play well together but tonight wasn't the best game
for us or the team.
"It's just a matter of time for Fernando. I said that after
the Sunderland game when people were talking about him not
scoring, but he still provided two assists.
"Tonight he missed a chance, but he is human and can miss
chances like everyone else. I'm sure his goals will come."
Reflecting on the game, where he returned to the club that
gave him his first senior contract, Kuyt felt that they had
done well to earn a point from their opponents.
"It was a really tough game. It was difficult from the
start. We didn't play our best game but we will keep
"We created some good chances but so did they, so I think we
have to be happy with a 0-0.
"We can take confidence from this and we will keep fighting.
I think the good thing from tonight is that we got a clean
sheet. An away draw in Europe isn't too bad and we have four
points from two games, so we just have to keep going and win
happy to take point
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson admitted he
was happy to gain a point in their 1-1 draw with Utrecht on
The Reds struggled throughout the game to build any pressure
and create chances against the Dutch side, with star striker
Fernando Torres cutting a frustrated figure up front.
Hodgson's side stay top of their group following the result
in what was, for the most part, an uninspiring game at the
Galgenwaard Stadium, but he stated that it was a point
gained rather than two dropped.
"It was a good point. We knew it was going to be a tough
game. The occasions when they created some chances were
largely of our own making. They were the result of
unfortunate individual errors. I thought the shape of the
team and the way we approached the game - I can have nothing
but praise for my team," said Hodgson.
"We created some good chances ourselves also. It wasn't a
dull 0-0, there was activity at both ends of the field.
"Utrecht did well. They were as determined and committed as
we expected them to be, so we had to be at our best
defensively and we were.
"We saw some very determined chasing down from the Dutch
forwards, their crossing and attacking the ball from
crossing was good and it was easy to see why Utrecht have
got a very good home record.
"So it's a good point to take back to Liverpool. Four points
out of two games. It's the first time we haven't won one of
these games but to be honest it would have been unfortunate
for them if we'd won the game tonight. They would have felt
hard done by. For me, a draw was a more than satisfactory
"I think the group is going to be very tight. The other game
finished in a draw. We're top with four, then Utrecht and
Napoli with two points and Steaua Bucharest with one point.
It's already quite close and I think it will be close right
until the end with the way this group is panning out."
Commenting on the performance of Torres, who saw one chance
go begging after a fine save by Michel Vorm, Hodgson praised
the Spaniard's work rate, despite once again coming away
from the game without a goal.
"There was some good combinations between him and the wide
players and Dirk Kuyt. He worked very hard but he's still
missing that elusive goal.
"There were a couple of quite good occasions for him to
score but I think he'll feel it was a good 90-minute workout
for him and another step in the right direction."
play out bore draw
Liverpool failed to build any head of steam
as they laboured to a goalless draw with Utrecht in their
Europa League group game on Thursday.
Roy Hodgson fielded a strong side as he looked to gain some
form going into an important Premier League game against
Blackpool on Sunday, but he'll be disappointed with what he
The Reds were completely lacking in inspiration throughout,
with Fernando Torres cutting a forlorn figure up front on
his own and still lacking the sharpness that made him so
feared in the past.
Utrecht arguably had the better of the chances, with Alje
Schut and Jacob Mulenga going close for the home side in the
Although Liverpool stay top of the group going into their
third game of the competition, it was still a disappointing
showing by what Hodgson would consider his strongest
In the end it was a point gained for the Reds, but it was
not the performance many thought could kick-start what has
been a lacklustre opening to their season.
A point in the Stadion Galgenwaard, where the hosts had won
their previous six matches, was no disgrace but it was
hardly one of those classic, gritty away performances in
Roy Hodgson's side, who had five successive Europa League
victories prior to this game, were dominated for long
periods and their clean sheet owed much to goalkeeper Jose
Reina and a goalline clearance from Raul Meireles.
Liverpool have now gone four matches without a victory in
all competitions and Hodgson's blueprint for reinvigorating
the team after Rafael Benitez's departure in the summer
still looks very much like a work in progress.
Without their captain Steven Gerrard, left behind to rest on
Merseyside, the side looked devoid of ideas and even the
presence of Torres for his first Europa League start of the
campaign did not help.
The only real positive to come out of the game was that the
five-time European champions and winners of this competition
on a record-equalling three occasions, extended their
impressive statistics against Dutch clubs.
Since losing their first encounter against Ajax in 1966 they
have now not been beaten in 12 matches against teams from
But that run came close to being ended on a number of
occasions as Utrecht were the better side from the off.
In only the fifth minute the prolific Ricky Van Wolfswinkel,
scorer of 13 goals in 14 games this season, was given half a
chance when Christian Poulsen gave away possession but the
21-year-old striker could only divert Dries Mertens'
left-wing cross wide of the far post.
Liverpool fashioned three or four openings - none of which
could be described in any way as good - with Meireles both
shooting and heading at goalkeeper Michel Vorm either side
of off-target efforts from Lucas Leiva and Joe Cole.
Torres also curled a shot wide after turning and shooting
from the edge of the area.
But the best first-half chances fell to Utrecht with Jan
Wuytens' volley only ruled out for Jacob Mulenga's foul on
Martin Kelly, makeshift left-back in the absence of the
injured trio of Paul Konchesky, Daniel Agger and Fabio
And had it not been for Reina saving well at close range
from Mertens after Dirk Kuyt, returning to his former club,
was slow to react to a loose ball in the penalty area from a
corner Liverpool would have been behind at half-time.
Torres had been quiet all night and, early in the second
half, when the ball did drop to him in the penalty area from
Glen Johnson's cross he hacked wildly at it and ballooned a
But Liverpool were soon on the back foot again with Reina
diving at the feet of Wolfswinkel to stop Mulenga's low
cross while Meireles cleared off the line from Michael
Silverbauer's header when his goalkeeper came for Mertens'
corner but missed.
Typically, considering his fortunes this season, Torres' one
chance came in the 57th minute but he was denied by a great
reaction save from Vorm when Kuyt picked him out with a low,
To compound the Spaniard's frustration referee Duarte Gomes
awarded a goal-kick.
He was almost gifted another opportunity moments later when
Mihai Nesu left his back-pass short but the striker's first
touch took the ball out of play as he attempted to round
As the match entered its closing stages it was Utrecht who
looked the most likely scorers.
Maxi Rodriguez's first touch after replacing Cole with eight
minutes to go saw him attempt an ambitious overhead kick
which failed to hit the target.
Liverpool were happy with the draw but Mulenga should have
snatched victory only to drive wide of Reina's left-hand
post with only the goalkeeper to beat.