Hodgson insists football focus
Ownership issue will not distract Reds boss
Last Updated: August 5, 2010 11:15pm
Cole: Impressive debut
Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson insists speculation over the club's future ownership will not affect the team's start to the season.
The former Fulham boss succeeded Rafa Benitez this summer and enjoyed a straightforward Anfield debut as the Reds beat FK Rabotnicki 2-0 in the second leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie.
A 21st minute header by David Ngog and a 40th minute penalty from Steven Gerrard wrapped up a 4-0 aggregate victory and ensured an easy passage into the play-offs.
However, much of the pre-match talk was concerning off-field issues as various factions jostle for position in the race to take over from American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Rumours on Thursday suggested the Chinese government was behind a bid fronted by Hong Kong-based businessman Kenny Huang while Syrian Yahya Kirdi has claimed he is in pole position to become the new owner.
Hodgson does not have any involvement in that side of the club's business but warned the longer a change of ownership is delayed, the lesser chance he has of making the transfer impact Liverpool fans anticipate.
"The interesting thing for me today was the game, that has been my total focus," he said.
"When and if a takeover takes place, I'm sure I will be informed.
"We have made some signings so far and we hope to bring in at least a couple of other players.
"I think the danger in a late takeover would be that money would be made available but we wouldn't have had a chance to research the players in this transfer window.
"We are doing our research in this window and targeting players that the club is capable and able to buy.
"If one day an enormous amount of money is made available like it was for Manchester City and Chelsea then so be it, it would be nice.
"But we would still have to do a lot of research before we started splashing that money around.
"It is not a question of how much a player costs, it is how good he is."
Joe Cole is one of those summer signings, having joined as a free agent from Chelsea, and the England midfielder impressed on his competitive Liverpool debut, playing behind lone striker Ngog.
"Joe is desperate to play," said Hodgson. "He came here because he thought he might get the opportunity to start more games than he did at Chelsea.
"He is an enthusiastic and effervescent footballer and the more he plays the happier he is.
"His energy and enthusiasm tonight meant he had a really good home debut."
Cole played alongside fellow new recruit Milan Jovanovic and full debutant Dani Pacheco in a 4-2-3-1 formation, while Gerrard shone in a deep-lying midfield role alongside Lucas Leiva.
And the Reds should have made the victory more emphatic as they created a host of second-half chances in an attacking performance which offered much encouragement for the new season after a dismal campaign last term.
"I am perfectly satisfied," Hodgson added. "We played some very attractive football and created lots of chances - more than the scoreline suggests.
"We kept our discipline and that was important too because it is so easy in these games to lose your way and for people to start doing things you don't want them doing."