Go Down? That's Stretching Credulity, Insists Hodgson

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Byline: Ian Doyle

ROY HODGSON is "absolutely convinced" Liverpool will not be relegated as Dirk Kuyt issued an apology as the Anfield outfit slipped into the bottom three at the weekend.

Hodgson's men go into the international break in 18th place, the first time in 46 years they have ended a weekend in the drop zone.

A 2-1 home defeat against promoted Blackpool represented a new low in a poor start to the campaign for Liverpool, their worst in the top flight since 1953-54.

The Anfield outfit were relegated that season, but a defiant Hodgson, while acutely aware the present position is nowhere near good enough, believes there won't be any repeat come next May.

"After seven games it is a fact that we are there and it is not where we want to be, that is fairly obvious," he said.

"But with 31 games left to play I am absolutely convinced Liverpool will not be in the bottom three after 38 games.

"Whether or not this bad start is going to affect us in our ambition to be nearer the top of the table that is another matter.

"That is something you can accuse us now of not being able to do.

"But I think to suggest, especially after seeing what we did in the second half against Blackpool, that we are a relegation candidate would be stretching credulity to the limit."

Liverpool were jeered off at both half-time and full-time on Sunday having posted a dismal performance that means they have not won in their last three home games.

And a contrite Kuyt said: "It was really, really disappointing. It's probably one of the hardest defeats I've had to take since I've been here and we're sorry for the fans.

"The first thing we have got to do is make sure we start winning games again and then we can begin to take things from there. "It is still early days for the manager and we have to keep working but one thing I do know is that we will come back stronger for this experience. …