A FRUSTRATED Roy Hodgson admits defensive errors are costing his side dearly.
The Liverpool boss was left cursing the Reds’ mistakes as they endured yet another disappointing away day with a 3-1 defeat at Newcastle.
Having seen his side claw their way back into the game following a disappointing first-half, Hodgson watched his side concede twice in the last 10 minutes at St James’ Park, to succumb to their sixth Premier League away defeat of the season.
The game’s crucial moment came ten minutes from time, as Liverpool’s defence hesitated in dealing with a long punt from Newcastle ‘keeper Tim Krul, allowing Joey Barton to nip in and net decisively. Hodgson was visibly angered. and said: “The major problem was the second goal, which was an unbelievably bad goal to give away,” he said, “That’s the bottom line. When you concede a goal like that, it’s going to have a major effect on the team’s confidence.
“We weren’t looking that troubled at 1-1; we weren’t exactly being smashed or bom-barded. Newcastle had not put us under massive pressure but when you concede like that, you can almost see in the faces of the players, it’s a case of ‘whoops, here we go again’.”
Andy Carroll wrapped up Newcastle’s victory with a third goal in stoppage time, to lift the Magpies above Liverpool in the table. The Reds have now taken just five points from nine away fixtures this season, and Hodgson is aware that an improvement on the road is of paramount importance, with the busy festive period approaching.
“How can we change things? You’ve just got to win; it’s as simple as that,” he said, “There is no magic formula, I’m afraid.
“You have to play better than we did in the second half – if we had played for 90 minutes in exactly the same way, and passed the ball in the same way, and kept our shape as we did in the first half, we would have had a good chance. But we didn’t.
“I thought we played well in the first-half, and I had high hopes we would continue to play well but I was disappointed with our second-half display- we let Newcastle back into the game.”
It was an all-too-familiar story on the road for Liverpool this season, as they failed to kick on after engineering a potential match-winning position, and Hodgson could not disguise his frustration afterwards, admitting that his side’s continuing travel sickness was likely to disturb his sleep over the next few days.
“I came into this job to try and win every game,” he said, “I can’t say it’s harder or easier than I thought – I just need to keep working hard. It’s the job I signed on to do.
“You find me a football manager who’s worthy of his sword, who doesn’t wake up in middle of night after matches, and I’ll give you a good headline.”
Hodgson, who saw young striker David Ngog taken off with a head injury which should rule him out of Wednesday’s Europa League tie with FC Utrecht, also revealed that skipper Steven Gerrard, absent with a hamstring strain over the past three weeks, should be fit to return for next week’s clash with Fulham at Anfield.
“It will be great to have him back, but even he could not have done anything about the second goal,” he said, “And that is what is going to haunt me when I ride home tonight, and when I wake up in the middle of the night. That has cost us any chance of getting anything.”