x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Roy Hodgson has faith in his Liverpool squad

The 63-year-old manager faces Blackburn Rovers, his former club, today knowing his side have to put in a performance after just one win in eight league matches.

Roy Hodgson believes that Liverpool's struggles will make them a stronger unit over time.

The 63-year-old manager faces Blackburn Rovers, his former club, today knowing his side have to put in a performance after just one win in eight league matches.

Liverpool's position in the relegation zone is unfamiliar territory for a club which is used to regularly finishing in the top four and excelling in Europe.

But Hodgson remains confident his team will prove their - and his - critics wrong.

"I think we are getting stronger as a team and a squad and we are becoming more organised in the sense of how I would like to see us organised," he said.

"As far as I am concerned, we have an awful lot of rebuilding to do. What we need is a bit of luck. When you are down there and you are not getting the victories the pressure builds up.

"Most of the players and myself are more accustomed to pats on the back than kicks in the teeth but we also know that in football kicks in the teeth are part of the game. What you do is try to keep as many teeth as you can and try to get on with it."

Sam Allardyce, the Blackburn manager, wants Ryan Nelsen, his captain, to quit international football. Nelsen is also captain of the New Zealand team and returned from his last tour of duty with a thigh injury - though he should face Liverpool.

Allardyce believes the 33-year-old should now consider calling it a day for New Zealand - especially after the All Whites' success in the World Cup when they were unbeaten.

"I think he's done his job," said Allardyce. "He's been the king of New Zealand football for many years now. We have seen many a player retire from international football and extend their careers."

* 6pm, Abu Dhabi Sports 6