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Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011

Dalglish takes over as Liverpool parts ways with Hodgson

LONDON (AP) Roy Hodgson's miserable 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 like 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 F.A. Cup match at archrival 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 F.A. 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."

Uzbeks spoil party

DOHA (AP) Uzbekistan scored twice in the second half Friday to beat Qatar 2-0 in the first match of the Asian Cup, dealing a setback to the hosts who had hoped a win on the pitch would compliment their glitzy opening ceremony.

Midfielder Odil Akhmedov gave the Uzbeks the lead in the 58th minute with a booming shot from 30 meters. The Uzbeks, ranked 109th in the FIFA world rankings, struck again in the 76th when an errant pass was intercepted by midfielder Server Djeparov, who scored from just outside the area.

The hosts, the second-lowest ranked side in the 16-team tournament above India, had their chances. Midfielder Fabio Cesar's free kick hit the post just before halftime and then striker Hussain Yaser's shot was cleared by Uzbek defender Sakhob Juraev.

"I'm very happy because it was a difficult match," Uzbekistan coach Vadim Abramov said. "At the same time, I'm sorry for the Qatari people. They had this big celebration and then to lose. But this is the game."

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