ROY HODGSON had waited six months for The Kop to sing his name, but when the moment came last night he was left shuffling uneasily.
This was no tribute to the Liverpool manager, it was a message to go.
In advancing Hodgson’s claims to be the next England manager, promptly followed by their chants for ‘Dalglish’, supporters made a very public statement about the action they want to see the club’s new owners take.
This was the night when patience ran out and anger, frustration and despair poured down from the stands as not for the first time this season a once mighty club was woefully embarrassed.
Reds fans have been used to disappointments on their travels in 2010 but during some dark days Anfield has provided solace.
Not any more. Pre-match talk of this ground becoming a fortress again looked like a bad joke as the Reds served up a pitiful display.
This was Wolves – a side bottom of the Premier League who had taken just one point from their eight previous away games this season. A team beaten at home by Wigan just three days earlier and recently hammered 3-0 at Blackburn.
Yet despite all that, Mick McCarthy’s men were made to look like world beaters as they deservedly claimed their first win at Anfield since 1984.
When Liverpool were last beaten at home by Blackpool in October, Hodgson blamed tiredness after three games in a week.
Last night there were no excuses. Having gone two and a half weeks without playing, the Reds should have been fresh and champing at the bit.
Instead they were lifeless and played like strangers. For that Hodgson must shoulder the responsibility and fans left him in no doubt where they believe the blame lies.
His appointment in July was met with a lukewarm reception and ever since support for him has been dwindling.
Hodgson has failed miserably to engage with the fans who pay his wages and last night there was open revolt.
This wasn’t a knee-jerk response from day trippers or armchair fans ringing phone-ins, this was diehard Kopites who live and breathe the club and can’t bear to see its alarming decline.
They don’t believe Hodgson is the man to stop the rot which set in before his arrival.
Liverpool have lurched from one calamity to another so far this season and this was as desperate as anything served up at Anfield in years.
It leaves the Reds just three points above the drop zone and the last time they went into a new year with such a low points total it was the start of 1954 and they were relegated.
The night began with a warm tribute to two former loyal servants of the club following the deaths of Avi Cohen and Bill Jones.
However, the current crop failed miserably to provide a performance befitting their memory. There was one moment of early promise with Fernando Torres’ quickly taken free-kick deflected into Raul Meireles’ path, but with the goal at his mercy the Portugal international scuffed wastefully at Wayne Hennessey.
That was as good as it got.
The Reds lost their way with possession conceded with alarmingly regularity.
Glen Johnson’s aimless punt into the Main Stand when under no pressure being the pick of the bunch.
The return of Steven Gerrard after six weeks out with a hamstring injury had left Hodgson with a decision to make.
The choice was to break up the central midfield partnership of Lucas and Raul Meireles or re-install his skipper just behind Torres.
Surprisingly, he opted for the former and Hodgson’s playing of square pegs in round holes undoubtedly contributed to the lack of creativity.
Meireles is a class act and the only one of Hodgon’s summer signings who has truly impressed.
But Meireles is no winger. Played in the middle he can dictate play and kick-start attacks with his range of passing.
Out on the right he looks lost and his obvious talents are wasted.
Similarly, on the opposite flank Dirk Kuyt may be Mr Versatile, but he’s no left winger and Maxi Rodriguez, who had scored in the two previous home league games, had good reason to feel miffed that he was the player to make way for Gerrard’s comeback.
If Hodgson was so intent on retaining David Ngog alongside Torres it would have made more sense against a side as limited as Wolves to sacrifice Lucas, play Meireles and Gerrard in the centre, stick with Kuyt on the right and Rodriguez on the left.
When the Reds did string two passes together they couldn’t find a way past the outstanding Christophe Berra who threw himself in the path of shots from Torres and Ngog.
Having expected a dramatic improvement after the break, fans had to sit and watch in horror as the Reds’ display plummeted to new depths.
There was endemic sloppiness from back to front and the warning signs were there long before Stephen Ward raced through to fire past Pepe Reina for his first Premier League goal.
Unrest was rising around the ground and it boiled over just past the hour mark at Hodgson’s decision to replace Ngog with Ryan Babel.
Chants of ‘Hodgson for England’ and then ‘Dalglish’ rang out. Fans notorious for standing by their manager had seen enough.
Infuriatingly, there was no late rally, no show of character.
Liverpool limped to the finish with Martin Skrtel’s header, which was rightly ruled out for offside, the only passing threat to a Wolves side who couldn’t believe their luck
The crescendo of boos which greeted the final whistle brought the curtain down on a dismal end to a miserable year.
Hodgson raced off down the tunnel and vowed to battle on. A growing number of fans hope John W Henry and Tom Werner take that decision out of his hands.