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Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Saturday, 13 November 2010

Liverpool boss Hodgson criticises Glen Johnson's form

Glen Johnson
Injury has restricted Johnson's appearances for Liverpool this season

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson says Reds and England full-back Glen Johnson's performances this season have not been of international standard.

Johnson, 26, has been struggling with a groin injury and will miss Saturday's league match at Stoke.

"If he plays like the England right-back one would expect him to come back in when he's fit," said Hodgson.

"But up to now he's not performed - very often at least - to the level I'd expect of him."

Hodgson added: "You would have to ask him 'do you think you're playing at top form and are you playing like the best right-back in the country for your club?'

We are still in a position in the league we are not totally happy with, so we need to keep this run going and see where it takes us

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard

"If he says yes, obviously we will have to agree to differ and if he says no, then you'd have to ask the question 'why not?"'

Johnson, who was signed from Portsmouth in the summer of 2009 for a reported fee of £18m, has played just one of Liverpool's last seven matches.

However, he remains England coach Fabio Capello's first choice for the national side, having started the last 10 internationals, although he is likely to miss the friendly against France next Wednesday because of injury.

Meanwhile, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says he is not satisfied with the club's current league position, despite their recent recovery from a poor start to the season.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches and lie ninth in the table - although they could have been even higher if they had managed to hold onto their lead against Wigan on Wednesday, the game ending in a 1-1 draw.

"At the beginning of the season our target was top four and that hasn't changed, but at the moment I don't want to get carried away," said Gerrard.

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"We are still in a position in the league we are not totally happy with, so we need to keep this run going and see where it takes us. At the moment we'll keep taking each game as it comes.

"It was really tricky against Wigan because we put so much effort into the Chelsea game (which they won 2-0 last Sunday). Now we need to recover and we've got another tough game against Stoke."

Another Liverpool player hoping to be given the chance to help the team continue their good run of form is striker David Ngog, who has seen his first-team opportunities limited this season.

The 21-year-old has been restricted to substitute appearances in the league and starts in the Europa League matches, when Hodgson has opted to rest some of his first-choice players.

"I have scored a few goals so that makes me more confident and more comfortable in the team," said Ngog, who has seven to his tally, the majority coming in Europe.

"I know that I have to be consistent and keep reproducing those performances every time I play.

"You have got to be prepared to fight every week and in every game you play for the team.

"When you play less, you have to be ready when a chance comes along. It is not easy because you want to play every game. The only target is to get on the pitch.

"I suppose I just have to be patient and the main thing for me is to keep working and keep believing that I will get the opportunities that I want.

"I know that I have got the quality to play at this level. The challenge for me is to make sure I show this quality throughout the season."



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see also
Hodgson backed by new owners NESV
17 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
NESV completes Liverpool takeover
15 Oct 10 |  Liverpool
Johnson deserves faith from fans
06 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Hodgson named new Liverpool boss
01 Jul 10 |  Liverpool
Johnson is top quality - Kennedy
30 Jun 09 |  Liverpool
Johnson completes Liverpool move
26 Jun 09 |  Liverpool


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