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Reds boss admits 'uphill battle'

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has expressed his frustration at supporters who chanted for club legend Kenny Dalglish to be put in place as manager during his side's limp defeat at Stoke City.

The travelling fans were heard singing for the Scotsman, who led the side to league titles in the 1980s, during a second half in which the Reds conceded twice and failed to muster many chances to get back into the game.

Asked about the chants, the former Fulham boss told reporters: "That seems to be part of the life as Liverpool football manager.

"We're trying do the best job we can in the circumstances, but I don't think that that singing helps."

The veteran manager was also riled when asked to comment on Glen Johnson, a player he criticised in midweek for not hitting his top form this season, and admitted his disbelief that his frank criticism had hit the headlines.

"We all want Glen Johnson to find his England form," he said. "We've got a player with a lot of ability, and we want to use that to win.

He added: "He knows himself that he hasn't reached that ability - everyone's saying what is obvious."

Hodgson spoke of his disappointment that Liverpool's season had become stuck once again, but admitted that he knew that getting anything at Stoke would be difficult.

"I'm sad that a good run has come to an end," he said. "It was always going to be a tough task, because it's a battle and I knew we'd be hard pushed to win that battle.

"We did OK first half, we dealt with the pressure - in particular the throws, corners and long balls forward. When they scored from a long throw it was always going to be even more of an uphill battle.

"I thought the players stuck at it to the end and did the best they could."

He added: "I can't say my players threw the towel in, and I can't be seen to be making excuses, we lost to a strong team."

Hodgson also revealed that star striker Fernando Torres, who cut a forlorn figure throughout, had picked up a knock but player and manager refused to countenance a substitution.

"I think we missed Fernando Torres in the second half after the kick he took," he said. "He didn't want to come off, and I didn't want to take him off when you need a goal, but I don't think he was firing on all cylinders."

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