Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was named on Thursday as the new manager of Liverpool, signing a three-year contract on Merseyside, the Premier League club said.
“The 62-year-old former Fulham, Inter Milan and Switzerland manager has agreed terms with the club on a three-year contract and becomes the 18th manager in our history,” the club said in a statement.
Hodgson takes over from Rafael Benitez, who quit Anfield last month after a disappointing season saw them finish seventh in the table.
He began his management duties as early as Thursday by overseeing the first day of pre-season training at the club’s Melwood training ground.
‘Biggest job in club football’
“This is the biggest job in club football and I’m honoured to be taking on the role of manager of Britain’s most successful football club,” said Hodgson.
Manager of the year Hodgson joins Liverpool after a successful spell at Fulham, guiding their Premier League rivals to the final of the Europa Cup in May.
“The club have made a good appointment in Roy Hodgson,” said club captain Steven Gerrard.
“Rafa (Benitez) left a few weeks ago and I know the club were determined to take their time and get the right man for the job,” the 30-year-old told Liverpoolfc.tv.
“Roy is hugely experienced and I believe he is the right man for Liverpool.
“I think it’s been worth the wait and I’m sure he’s just keen now to get on with it and start to quickly put in place his plans for the new season.”
Hodgson club’s first choice
Hodgson was Liverpool’s first choice despite a host of other names being mentioned and media reports said it cost Liverpool two million pounds to win the release of the Englishman from his contract at Craven Cottage.
Former Liverpool stars also welcomed the appointment and hoped for a new era of stability and success at the club.
“The club needs a steadying influence and Roy will provide that,” said former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson.
“He’s done a fantastic job at Fulham and has a wealth of experience having managed all over Europe.
Former Reds striker John Aldridge said Hodgson would “fit the bill perfectly” at Anfield and win the respect of the squad.
“His experience is exceptional, his CV is very good and the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher will be delighted to have Roy in charge,” he told Sky Sports News TV channel.
Manager of the year
Hodgson, named by his fellow league managers as manager of the year, had been linked with England after their disappointing World Cup campaign under Fabio Capello, but negotiations were already at an advanced stage with the Merseysiders who moved to close the deal with speed.
His first task at his new club will be to persuade the likes of Gerrard and star striker Fernando Torres that they can have a successful future under his tenure.
The pair, along with Argentinian midfielder Javier Mascherano, are the three big names who have all been linked with moves away this summer, although the uncertainty over who would be manager and the ongoing sale by co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have led to speculation there could be a mass exodus.
Hodgson has less than a month to get to know his players and prepare them for a Europa League third qualifying round first-leg tie on July 29.
He is at least familiar with the prospect, having guided Fulham from that starting point all the way to the final this season, eventually losing to Atletico Madrid.
The former Switzerland manager then has to begin the task of strengthening a squad which is severely lacking strength in depth.
However, with the club in debt to the tune of 350 million pounds, he will be severely retricted in terms of spending power.
Even so his priority is to find a left-back, as Emiliano Insua is the only specialist in the first-team squad, and much-needed support for Torres in attack.