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Hodgson refuses to write off Reds

Roy Hodgson (left) and Rafa Benitez (right)
Hodgson (left) believes Benitez (right) can still lead Liverpool to the title

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has warned the Premier League's top teams not to write off Liverpool in the title race.

The Reds are nine points behind league leaders Chelsea after losing 3-1 at Craven Cottage on Saturday but Hodgson still believes they are challengers.

"If I was Manchester United or Arsenal or Chelsea I don't think I would be writing them off," Hodgson told 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.

"They could go on a good run, winning seven, eight, nine games in a row."

Liverpool's loss to Fulham was their sixth defeat in seven matches in all competitions, leaving them fifth in the league table.

However, Hodgson has seen enough from the Merseyside club to convince him they are capable of turning their season around.

"You never know. They are a very good team, very well organised," said the 62-year-old.

"They have some very good players and are unlucky at the moment that their talisman Steven Gerrard isn't playing and Torres isn't 100% fit and has to be nursed through the games."


With only a quarter of the season gone, Hodgson also suggested it was too early to be rubbishing the credentials of any side and suggested there have been precedents of clubs overhauling pints deficits to claim the title.

"I remember not so long ago Manchester United were lingering in the middle of the table almost halfway through the season and went on to win it," he added.

After extending their unbeaten league run to four matches with Saturday's victory, Fulham lie 11th in the table on 14 points.

However, Hodgson remains realistic about his side's chances of repeating last season's 7th-place finish, which saw them qualify for the Europa League.

"To be one of the best seven teams in the league is going to be very difficult for us on an annual basis," he explained. "The club is not necessarily geared for that.

"More and more money is being spent and the top four is rapidly becoming the top seven in terms of financial power.

"It would be nice if we could treat our fans to a season when they are not biting their nails into the last two or three games and be a good enough team to occasionally spring surprises like we did yesterday."

Second-half goals from Erik Nevland and Clint Dempsey sealed victory for Fulham on Saturday, after Fernando Torres had levelled following Bobby Zamora's 24th minute opener.

Liverpool also had Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher sent off just prior to the third Fulham goal.

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see also
Fulham 3-1 Liverpool
31 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Benitez defends Torres withdrawal
31 Oct 09 |  Liverpool
Saturday football as it happened
31 Oct 09 |  Football
Benitez job safe says Reds chief
25 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Benitez stays defiant after loss
04 Oct 09 |  Liverpool


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