Hodgson faces Merseyside derby

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LIVERPOOL (Reuters) -- Liverpool's on-field problems can no longer hide behind boardroom drama and manager Roy Hodgson will hope the club's new owners will give him time to fix a team that was already crumbling when he took over.

Friday's takeover by New England Sports Ventures (NESV) brought to an end months of uncertainty, leaving Hodgson and his players to start stopping the rot that has put the 18-times English champions into the relegation zone.

After a 2-1 defeat by Blackpool in their last league game a fortnight ago, fans called for their beloved former player and manager Kenny Dalglish to replace Hodgson but the current coach has urged patience after only seven league games in charge.

That could wear thin very soon though, with Liverpool's next match on Sunday being the Merseyside derby at Everton, where local pride as well as points are at stake.

Hodgson expects a "feisty" and "tight" match, with Everton sitting just above their arch rivals in the table, and said there will be no quick fix to his team's current predicament.

"It's a sad day if after a bad start of six or seven games people think the solution is to find someone else with a magic wand -- we all know the magic wand solution doesn't exist," he told a news conference.

"I know that I can turn the situation around but I have to be given support and I have to be given the patience and the time to do it."


When Hodgson took over in July, replacing Rafa Benitez, the five-times European champions had already endured a miserable season by their standards by finishing seventh and failing to qualify for the prestigious and lucrative Champions League.

He is hoping the new owners will provide some cash to buy players in the next transfer window but in the meantime needs to bring out the best in the players already there, such as striker Fernando Torres who has lost his confidence and scoring touch.

Hodgson, 63, has no regrets about joining Liverpool, adding that over the recent weeks of trouble he has become even prouder to have joined the Merseyside club -- despite it being far from the quiet life he craves.

"I realise what a big job I've taken on ... if we could turn this around and get some good results for this club ... then it will be a wonderful feeling. But, unfortunately, it's not a wonderful feeling being third from bottom with six points," he said.

"At my age and with all the years I've spent in football a quieter, more tranquil life, and certainly a quieter, more tranquil life to my beginning of my work at this club, would have been very, very desirable. I haven't got that."