Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson defends start to season
Europa League Venue: Anfield Date: Thursday 16 September Kick-off: 2005 BST Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and Channel Five
Torres can handle criticism - Hodgson
Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has defended the start his team have made since he succeeded Rafael Benitez in July.
The Reds face Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League on Thursday, with Hodgson having guided Fulham to the final of that competition last season.
And he said: "We've played eight, won five, drawn two and lost one.
"I don't think that's a bad start to the season by any stretch of the imagination. It is a new team and it has been a tough start to the season."
Liverpool have scored only twice in the opening four Premier League games, with star striker Fernando Torres looking out of sorts, and they are set to visit Manchester United on Sunday.
Hodgson pointed to a number of factors that have made the start of his reign on Merseyside difficult.
He added: "Of course, it is a time of transition, which is always difficult -even if there is no change in the club itself.
"When you move and a lot of players have left or have been in danger of leaving and there are new players coming in; when you have the documented problem we have off the field in regards to ownership and a World Cup year, it all adds up."
I want to be in that team - whether he puts me as a goalie or a striker, it doesn't matter
Liverpool defender Daniel Agger
And the former Fulham boss was quick to respond to criticism of Torres, stating at his pre-match press conference: "He certainly isn't fed up. Criticism is something we all have to live with.
"We bear strong expectations at this club. Everyone is interested in us - we fill newspapers, we fill airtime and everything that happens at the club is put under a microscope, and that includes players' performances.
"Fernando Torres has got no problems with that - he's an excellent player, he's very much committed and focused on this season.
"I think it's very wrong for people to try to read into people's states of mind from watching them play 90 minutes of football. I think you'd have to be some wonder psychologist to be able to do that."
Hodgson also revealed that Daniel Agger will be returning to his preferred position at centre-back after filling in at left-back earlier in the season.
"There has never been any question that we don't know what his best position is," said the 62-year-old.
"It is a question of getting your best players on the field and sometimes it is about getting players to play out of position in order to put the best team out.
"Now we have a specialist left-back [Paul Konchesky] we can forgo Daniel as a left-back and use him more as a centre-back.
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