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Hodgson leaves Liverpool; Dalglish takes over

Roy Hodgson's six-month reign as Liverpool manager ended Saturday with former title-winning player and boss Kenny Dalglish put in charge until the end of the season.

Since taking over from Rafa Benitez in the offseason, Hodgson presided over Liverpool's worst start to a season for more than 50 years — a dismal run of results that coincided with financial instability and a bitter court battle to oust unpopular American owners.

But even the arrival of Boston Red Sox owner John Henry in October couldn't halt the dire form on the pitch.

The club finally lost patience with the 63-year-old Hodgson after Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Blackburn. This left Liverpool languishing in 12th place, with star players such as Spain striker Fernando Torres underperforming this season.

Hodgson went to Anfield from 2010 Europa League finalist Fulham in July on a three-year contract. He left Anfield by mutual consent, a club statement said Saturday on the eve of an FA Cup match at rival Manchester United.

"We are grateful for Roy's efforts over the past six months, but both parties thought it in the best interests of the club that he stand down from his position as team manager," Henry said.

Now Dalglish, who left Liverpool due to stress less than a year after the delivering the team's 18th — and most recent — top flight title triumph in 1990, has a chance to prove he is up to the job again.

The 59-year-old Dalglish, who was described in Saturday's statement as a "club legend," was originally pipped to the manager's job by Hodgson. His name has been chanted by fans for several months as he watched the team struggle from the directors' box in his position as a club ambassador.

"We are delighted that Kenny Dalglish has agreed to step in and manage the team for Sunday's FA Cup tie at Old Trafford and for the remainder of the season," Henry said. "Kenny was not just a legendary footballer, he was the third of our three most successful managers — three giants. We are extraordinarily fortunate and grateful that he has decided to step in during the middle of this season."

Hodgson arrived at Liverpool fresh from having guided Fulham to the Europa League final where the London club lost to Atletico Madrid.

Despite victories in the early stages of the Europa League at Liverpool, domestic results failed to live up to expectations with an early embarrassing League Cup loss at home to fourth-tier club Northampton.

The team even found itself in the relegation zone of the league with a 2-1 home defeat to promoted Blackpool in October, the first time since September 1964 the Reds had ended a round of top flight fixtures in such a position.

A run of three straight league wins, including over Chelsea at Anfield, eased some of the pressure but Hodgson angered fans last week by saying he "had never had the famous Anfield support" since taking over.

"I have, however, found the last few months some of the most challenging of my career," Hodgson said Saturday in a statement released by Liverpool. "I am very sad not to have been able to put my stamp on the squad, to be given the time to bring new players into the club in this transfer window and to have been able to be part of the rebuilding process at Liverpool.

"The club has some great, world-class players, with whom it has been a pleasure to work and I wish the entire squad well for the rest of the season."