Hodgson named new Liverpool manager
LONDON (Reuters) -- Roy Hodgson was tasked with reviving Liverpool's flagging fortunes on Thursday when the much-travelled 62-year-old was confirmed as the club's new manager after resigning from Fulham.
The 18-times English champions, who parted company with Spaniard Rafael Benitez in June, said Hodgson had agreed a three-year contract.
Vastly experienced, Hodgson takes over after a woeful season for the Anfield club, who finished seventh and missed out on qualifying for the lucrative Champions League.
"This is the biggest job in club football and I'm honoured to be taking on the role of manager of Britain's most successful football club," Hodgson told Liverpool's website.
"I look forward to meeting the players and the supporters and getting down to work at Melwood."
Hodgson, whose name has been linked to the England job since their recent World Cup flop, becomes Liverpool's 18th manager and the first Englishman to hold the post since Roy Evans left in 1998.
Benitez, who spent six years in charge and won the Champions League in 2005, followed Frenchman Gerard Houllier into the hot seat. His final season in charge was overshadowed by poor form and the club's mounting debts.
London-born Hodgson has gained a reputation as an astute tactician after an odyssey that has taken in 12 clubs in six countries during his 34-year coaching career.
As well as spells in club football in Sweden, where he won five league titles with Malmo, Denmark and Norway, Hodgson, who is fluent in several languages, also managed the Switzerland national side, qualifying them for 1996 European Championships.
Last season Hodgson was named Manager of the Year in England after leading modest English club Fulham to the Europa League final in which they were beaten by Atletico Madrid.
"Fulham confirm that at 9.20 a.m. this morning, Roy Hodgson resigned from his position of first team manager, effective immediately," Fulham said in a statement.
"The club would like to wish Roy the very best for the future and thanks him for all that was achieved during his tenure. Ray Lewington will take temporary charge of team matters, until a successor is announced in due course."
Hodgson's biggest job in football previously was as coach of Inter Milan from 1995 to 1997, taking thre Italian side to third in Serie A and to the UEFA Cup final.
A short spell in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers followed but he was sacked in 1998 before returning briefly in caretaker role to Inter.
Hodgson returned to English football in 2007 and saved Fulham from relegation on the final day of the season before guiding them to a seventh-placed finish the year after and into European football.
Hodgson's immediate priority at Liverpool will be to hold on to the club's marquee players, namely England captain Steven Gerrard and Spain striker Fernando Torres, despite estimated debts of 350 million pounds.
Gerrard backed Hodgson's appointment.
Speaking on Liverpoolfc.tv, he said: "He's the right man for LFC. The club have made a good appointment in Roy Hodgson.
"Rafa left a few weeks ago and I know the club were determined to take their time and get the right man for the job.
"Roy is hugely experienced and I believe he is the right man for Liverpool. I think it's been worth the wait and I'm sure he's just keen now to get on with it and start to quickly put in place his plans for the new season."
The club was officially put up for sale by American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett near the end of last season.