After guiding Fulham to the Europa League final, Roy Hodgson arrived to take over at Liverpool as Rafael Benitez’s successor on July 1, 2010, but it was a dream job that quickly turned into a nightmare.
Top of his to-do list was keeping the club’s best players — Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano — but with debts of £350 million, the club let Mascherano leave for Barcelona in the summer, and by October, the chaotic reign of owners Tom Hicks and George Gillet had ended, as Fenway Sports Group swooped in with a takeover bid.
With Liverpool in the lower half of the table at Christmas, Hodgson was sacked in January and replaced by club legend Kenny Dalglish. On transfer deadline day later that month, Torres left Liverpool for Chelsea in a deal worth £50m — to be replaced by Ajax striker Luis Suarez (excellent) and Newcastle’s Andy Carroll (a flop).
Dalglish eventually managed to get Liverpool back to sixth position, but, a far cry from the situation at Anfield now, it was a turbulent time in the club’s history. Where is the squad that started the season with Hodgson now?
GK: Brad Jones — Signed by Hodgson for £2.3m from Middlesbrough, he was second choice throughout the 2010-11 season but made just 27 appearances for Liverpool in a five-year spell before he left for Bradford City in 2015. A year later, the 38-year-old moved to the Netherlands to play for NEC and Feyenoord. He is now at Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr.
GK: Pepe Reina — He was first-choice goalkeeper until the end of the 2012-13 season, when it looked like he would join Barcelona. Liverpool brought in Simon Mignolet as a replacement, but when the Barcelona move fell through, Reina joined Napoli on loan. He signed for one season at Bayern Munich, then spent three years at Napoli. He moved to Serie A rivals AC Milan in 2018 and is back in the Premier League on loan at Aston Villa.
GK: Peter Gulacsi — The Hungarian was loaned to Tranmere during the 2010-11 campaign and spent the following season at Hull. He then moved permanently to FC Salzburg in 2013 on a free transfer and joined RB Leipzig two years later for just £3m, and there he remains first-choice goalkeeper.
GK: Diego Cavalieri — He made two appearances in Europa League qualifying that season before joining Cesana on a free and in December 2010 headed to Fluminense, where he stayed until 2018. The Brazilian joined Crystal Palace that March on a short-term deal and, at 37, is now at Botafogo.
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GK: Martin Hansen — Liverpool’s main third-choice option for the 2010-11 season, the Dane was named on the bench six times without getting game time. After a nomadic career taking in Bradford, Viborg FF, FC Nordsjaelland, FC Ingolstadt, SC Heerenveen, FC Basel and Stromgsodset, he joined Hannover 96 in January 2020.
DEF: Glen Johnson — The former right-back made 160 appearances for Liverpool before leaving in 2015 for Stoke City. After three seasons, he departed on a free in July 2018 and retired the following January. He’s now doing some media work and runs his own investment company, called Bed of Honey.
DEF: Daniel Agger — The centre-back made 232 appearances for Liverpool and joined Brondby in 2014. He retired from football in 2016 at the age of 31 and is quite the entrepreneur now. With his brother, Marco, he runs a lucrative sewer and drains firm, called “KloAgger,” out of Hvidovre, Denmark. He is also a qualified tattoo artist, he has invested in an online tattoo community called “Tattoodo,” and he runs the Agger Foundation and an investment company.
DEF: Fabio Aurelio — The Brazilian left-back was set to leave Liverpool prior to Hodgson’s arrival after being offered a pay-as-you-play deal, but one of Hodgson’s first acts was to offer Aurelio a new two-year contract. He played 87 times for Liverpool over a six-year spell and left for Gremio on a free transfer in May 2012. He retired in January 2014 and is now a football agent in Brazil with NG Soccer.
DEF: Emiliano Insua — He spent the 2010-11 season on loan at Galatasaray and joined Sporting CP on a permanent deal for £1.35m in June 2011. Two years later, he moved to Atletico Madrid and then joined VfB Stuttgart in 2015 on a free. He signed for LA Galaxy in January.
DEF: Philipp Degen — The Switzerland defender was sent on loan to Stuttgart for the 2010-11 campaign and was released in June 2011. He spent the next five years at FC Basel and retired in 2016. He is now a football agent with SBE Management.
DEF: Sotirios Kyrgiakos — The Greek centre-back made 28 appearances across this campaign and left for Wolfsburg in 2011. He joined Sunderland on loan in 2012, making three appearances, had a short spell at Australian semi-professional side Sydney Olympic and retired in 2014. He now lives in Greece and evidently loves travelling, golfing and taking photographs of sunsets for his Instagram page.
DEF: Danny Wilson — He made eight appearances for Liverpool that season and had spells at Blackpool and Bristol City before joining Hearts in 2013. Having moved to spend three seasons at Rangers from 2015 to 2018, the defender is now at MLS side Colorado Rapids.
DEF: Martin Kelly — The right-back featured prominently for Liverpool that season and made his England debut for his one and only cap in 2012. He was sold to Crystal Palace in 2014 for £1.8m and has featured 21 times for them this season under … Hodgson.
DEF: Daniel Ayala — The Spaniard spent 2010-11 on loan at both Hull City and Derby County and joined Norwich in August 2011. He signed for Middlesbrough in January 2014, but with this contract expiring in the summer, he rejected a short-term deal taking him through the end of this extended season.
DEF: Martin Skrtel — He was a fan favourite but left Liverpool for Fenerbahce in 2016, having made 242 appearances, and spent three years there before joining Atalanta in 2019. However, Skrtel was there for only three weeks before departing, having failed to adjust to life at the Italian club. He is now playing alongside Robinho at Istanbul Basaksehir in the Turkish Super Lig.
DEF: Jamie Carragher — A Liverpool legend and one-club man, he retired in 2013 with 737 appearances across 16 years for his boyhood club. He played 38 times for England, helped Liverpool to the Champions League in 2005 and won two FA Cups, three League Cups and the 2001 UEFA Cup. He’s now one of the top football pundits for Sky Sports.
DEF: Jon Flanagan — He was promoted to Liverpool’s reserves from the academy at the start of the 2010-11 season and made his debut in April 2011. He went on to make 40 appearances for Liverpool from 2010 to 2018 while spending time on loan at Burnley and Bolton Wanderers. He joined Rangers under the management of former teammate Steve Gerrard but is now available on a free after his contract ran out at Ibrox.
DEF: Jack Robinson — The left-back was the second-youngest player to make his senior debut for Liverpool when he replaced the injured Aurelio against Arsenal in April 2011, aged 16 years, 250 days. He left Liverpool in 2014 for QPR, moved to Nottingham Forest in 2018 and, still only 26, is now back in the Premier League with Sheffield United.
DEF: Paul Konchesky — Hodgson brought Konchesky with him to Liverpool from Fulham, signing the left-back on transfer deadline day in August 2010 for £3.8m. By January, he had been loaned out to Nottingham Forest, and then he joined Leicester on a permanent deal in July 2011 and stayed until 2015. He had spells at QPR, Gillingham FC, Billericay Town and East Thurrock before retiring in August 2018. He now does media and charity work, and his 9-year-old son, Jimmy, is in West Ham’s academy.
DEF: Stephen Darby — The right-back made one appearance in the Europa League under Hodgson, then spent the next 18 months on loan at Notts County and Rochdale. He joined Bradford City in 2012 and joined Bolton for the 2017-18 campaign. Sadly, he was forced to retire in September 2019 at the age of 29 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Now he helps run the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, which seeks to support families affected by the illness while researching a cure. He is married to England women’s captain Steph Houghton.
DEF: Andre Wisdom — At the age of 17, Wisdom was named on the bench twice for Liverpool but had to wait until the 2012-13 season to make his first-team debut. Over the following years, he spent time on loan at Derby County, West Brom, Norwich and FC Salzburg before signing a permanent deal at Derby for just over £2m in 2017. He has made 19 appearances so far this season for the Championship side but was stabbed during a robbery in Liverpool earlier this week.
MID: Raul Meireles — The Portuguese midfielder joined as a replacement for the Barcelona-bound Mascherano after a hugely impressive 2010 World Cup. He proved to be a hit at Anfield that term and picked up the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year award. But in August 2011, he requested a transfer and moved to Premier League rivals Chelsea, where he won the Champions League in 2012. He moved to Fenerbahce later that year and retired in July 2016. He competed in the 2019 edition of Lip-sync Portugal.
Raul Meireles deu espetáculo a encarnar António Variações no #LipSyncPortugal ? pic.twitter.com/ds0bw854AV
— B24 (@B24PT) January 14, 2019
MID: Joe Cole — Hodgson signed Cole in July on a free transfer, with the midfielder having ended a seven-season spell at Chelsea. Cole made 32 appearances in the 2010-11 campaign but was loaned to Lille the following season. Then he returned to Liverpool for a six-month spell before leaving on a free for West Ham in January 2013. Spells at Aston Villa, Coventry City and the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the United Soccer League followed. Cole retired in November 2018. He recently left a coaching role in Chelsea’s academy, has designs on becoming a manager and does some media work.
MID: Maxi Rodriguez — The talented Argentine arrived at Liverpool from Atletico Madrid in January 2010 and played for two-and-a-half seasons before returning to Newell’s Old Boys in 2012. He spent five years there before one season in Uruguay with Penarol and is now back at Newell’s Old Boys, aged 39, for one last hurrah.
MID: Lucas Leiva — Lucas spent 10 years at Liverpool, making 346 appearances, before leaving in 2017 for Serie A side Lazio. The Brazilian defensive midfielder helped them to the 2019 Coppa Italia and is now a key part of their plan to win a Scudetto.
MID: Javier Mascherano — The Argentine midfielder left Liverpool just 58 days after Hodgson joined. He signed for La Liga giants Barcelona for £18m, converted into a classy centre-back and spent seven-and-a-half trophy-laden seasons there before joining Chinese side Hebei China Fortune. Aged 36, he is now at Estudiantes in Argentina.
MID: Steven Gerrard — Gerrard’s place in the pantheon of Liverpool greats was secure when he left the club in 2015. Having debuted in 1998, he made 710 appearances, scored 186 goals, contributed 145 assists and won the 2005 Champions League, two FA Cups, three League Cups and one UEFA Cup. Gerrard opted to move to MLS side LA Galaxy before retiring in November 2016. He was appointed Rangers manager in June 2018.
MID: Jay Spearing — Tipped to be “the new Gerrard” when he came through the Liverpool academy and made his first-team debut in 2008, Spearing put in 20 appearances in 2010-11 and started promisingly under Hodgson’s eventual successor, Brendan Rodgers, but he was loaned to Bolton Wanderers in August 2012. He joined them on a permanent deal in 2013, left in 2017 and was club captain at Blackpool before he was released this summer.
MID: Jonjo Shelvey — Shelvey had just been signed for £1.8m from Charlton when Hodgson took charge, and he went on to make 21 appearances for Liverpool that season. He made 69 appearances for Liverpool and then signed for Swansea in 2013 for £5m. Newcastle United then snapped him up for £14m in January 2016, and he is still one of their key players.
MID: Christian Poulsen — Hodgson signed him for £4.5m from Juventus, and the Danish midfielder went on to play a key role for Liverpool that season. However, by August 2011, he was on the move again, and he joined French side Evian on a free transfer. He spent two seasons at Ajax (where he is now on the coaching staff) and one at FC Copenhagen before retiring in December 2016.
MID: Alberto Aquilani — The Italian midfielder arrived to much fanfare in August 2009 after signing from Roma for £18m, but he goes down as one of the biggest transfer flops in Liverpool’s history. He made just 28 appearances under previous boss Benitez and was loaned out by Hodgson to Juventus in August 2010. He spent the 2011-12 season on loan at AC Milan and then joined Fiorentina on a permanent deal. His career finished with time at Sporting CP, Pescara, Sassuolo and Las Palmas before he slipped into retirement in 2019 at age 34. He’s now a technical coach at Fiorentina.
FW: Milan Jovanovic — The Serbian had been lined up by Benitez but arrived at Liverpool after the manager was sacked. After playing 18 times for Liverpool and scoring twice, he left for Anderlecht in August 2011. He spent two years there and, despite being linked to a move back to Serbian side FK Vojvodina, faded into obscurity and retired at 33. However, he left the game with a ringing endorsement from the TV show “Neighbours,” in which character Andrew Robinson weirdly labelled him “one of the greatest players in the world.”
FW: Nabil El Zhar — The Morocco winger signed for Liverpool in 2006 and played 32 times but was sent on loan to PAOK in August 2010. He then went to Levante in 2011 on a free transfer and had spells at Las Palmas and Leganes before joining Qatari side Al-Ahli.
FW: Tom Ince — The winger came through the ranks at Liverpool and spent the second half of the 2010-11 season on loan at Notts County before moving to Blackpool in July 2011. He has since played for Hull City, Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Huddersfield. He signed for Stoke City in July 2018 for just more than £10m and has made 34 appearances so far this season.
FW: Ryan Babel — Babel would have likely been playing for Netherlands in Euro 2020 this summer but for the tournament’s postponement. After leaving Liverpool in 2011, having made 146 appearances, he embarked on a nomadic career that included Hoffenheim, Ajax, Kasimpasa, Al Ain, Deportivo de la Coruna, Besiktas, Fulham and Galatasaray, and he’s now back on loan at Dutch giants Ajax.
ST: Nathan Eccleston — He made only a handful of appearances at Liverpool and spent time on loan at Huddersfield, Charlton Athletic and Rochdale. He joined Blackpool on a permanent deal in 2012 and again spent time on loan before signing for Partick Thistle in 2014. Kilmarnock and Hungary’s Bekescsaba 1912 Elore were next on the agenda before he slipped away from football for three years until he signed for Nuneaton Borough in 2019. He now runs his own clothing company, Peaches Sportswear.
ST: David Amoo — The winger made just one appearance in a Europa League qualifying match before he joined Preston North End in 2013 on a free transfer after spells on loan at MK Dons, Hull City and Bury. He’s now at Port Vale in League Two after playing for Tranmere Rovers, Carlisle United, Partick Thistle and Cambridge United.
ST: Fernando Torres — Torres was Liverpool’s shining star up front, but he completed a controversial £50m switch to Chelsea on deadline day in January 2011 and was replaced by Carroll and Suarez. He endured a turbulent time at Chelsea, where he made 172 appearances and scored 45 goals before being shifted on loan to AC Milan on a two-season deal in August 2014. He then signed a permanent deal but was loaned out to his boyhood club, Atletico Madrid, just days later. He stayed there until July 2018, when he signed for Japanese side Sagan Tosu. He announced his retirement in June 2019 and owns three gyms under the banner of “Nine Fitness” in Madrid, alongside other business interests.
ST: Daniel Pacheco — The former Barcelona graduate made just 17 appearances for Liverpool before being sent out on loan to Norwich City in March 2011. He then had spells on loan at Atletico Madrid, Rayo Vallecano and SD Huesca before joining AD Alcorcon in 2013. After spells at Real Betis, Alaves and Getafe, he’s at Malaga.
ST: Dirk Kuyt — The talismanic Dutch forward, who retired in May 2018, became a cult hero at Anfield, having made 285 appearances and scored 71 goals from 2006 to 2012. From there, he joined Fenerbahce for a bargain £900,000, went to Feyenoord on a free in 2015 and in 2018 enjoyed a short spell at Quick Boys, his boyhood side, where he filled in amid an injury crisis. He finished his career with an impressive 104 caps for Netherlands and is now manager of Feyenoord’s Under-19 side, alongside steering his Dirk Kuyt Foundation.
ST: David N’Gog — Having arrived at Liverpool from Paris Saint-Germain in 2008, N’Gog made 94 appearances and scored 19 goals before leaving for Bolton in 2011 for £4m. He then spent time with Swansea City, Reims, Panionios, Ross County and Budapest Honved and played for FK Zalgiris for four months before, according to the Lithuanian side, retiring at age 31 this season.
ST: Lauri Dalla Valle — Labelled “the next Torres,” he left for Fulham in 2010 having made a solitary appearance as a substitute. The Finland striker played just twice for Fulham and spent the majority of the time on loan at Bournemouth, Dundee United, Exeter City and Crewe Alexandra. He then joined Molde in 2013 and came back to England with Crewe Alexandra from 2014 to ’16 before ending his career at Serbian club Zemun. He retired from football in 2018, aged 26, and now runs a photography and consulting business.
Manager: Roy Hodgson — After his short spell at Liverpool, Hodgson took charge of West Bromwich Albion and managed to steer them out of the relegation zone and up to 11th, their best finish in 30 years. He enjoyed another successful season at West Brom before taking the England job in 2012. England were knocked out of Euro 2012 in the quarterfinals, failed to get out of their World Cup group in 2014 and were dispatched by Iceland in the second round in 2016. Hodgson left after that competition and was appointed Crystal Palace manager in September 2017. At age 72, he recently signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until 2021.