Hodgson's unpopular Liverpool reign brought to a close

It may not have been the best way to prepare for an FA Cup trip to your biggest rivals, but Liverpool owners have bought themselves time with move for old favourite

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LIVERPOOL // It may not have been the best way to prepare for an FA Cup trip to your biggest rivals.

But ultimately Liverpool's owners, New England Sports Ventures (NESV), decided to act sooner rather than later by sacking Roy Hodgson yesterday and replacing him with the club legend Kenny Dalglish until the end of the season.

And so, last season's manager of the year is out of a job he started just six months earlier.

Hodgson, 63, knew he was on borrowed time after NESV suggested they were looking for alternatives following last week's 1-0 home defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, but he probably expected to remain in charge for the trip to United.

He even gave an interview to the club's television channel on Friday, previewing the game. But less than 24 hours after that he was gone.

Although the club statement said Hodgson's departure was by mutual consent there is no doubt the club's American owners pulled the trigger - especially as less than two weeks ago Hodgson insisted he had no intention of resigning.

By bringing in Dalglish, widely regarded as the club's best player and their last manager to win the championship, in 1990, NESV have bought themselves some time with disgruntled supporters.

The Scot, 59, who has not managed a team for 12 years, put his name forward for the job when Rafa Benitez left last summer but was overlooked by the previous ownership group.

Hodgson was never the fans' first choice as manager and he was certainly not the owners', who completed their £300 million (Dh1.7 billion) takeover three months after Hodgson's July appointment. "We are grateful for Roy's efforts over the past six months, but both parties thought it in the best interests of the club that he stand down," said John Henry, the principal owner.

In a departing statement, Hodgson said: "Liverpool is one of the great clubs in football. I have, however, found the last few months some of the most challenging of my career."

Phil Thompson, the former Liverpool defender and assistant manager under Gerard Houllier, believes the way fans had turned on Hodgson was instrumental in his departure.

"Six months is not long enough, not just for Liverpool but for all managers," Thompson said. "Even in the dark days of Graeme Souness's reign, there were no universal chants for Graeme to go. Liverpool fans felt as though we were different. Now the fans had even started taking the mickey out of their own manager, chanting 'You're getting sacked in the morning.' That is incredible."