New Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has hit back at suggestions he was a flop at Blackburn Rovers.

The 62-year-old was at Ewood Park between 1997 and 1998, leading a side which narrowly escaped relegation to a sixth-placed finish in his first season.

But he was axed in December 1998 with the club bottom of the table.

And that’s a decision that still rankles with Hodgson, who led Fulham to the Europa Cup final last season.

“Blackburn was the only place I have been sacked and that was somewhat harsh,” he said.

“I took a team which had avoided relegation by one point into European football and then lost four of the very best players – three to injury and one to a forced sale to Rangers – the following year.

“Admittedly the start of the following season was not as good and we built up expectations but it is difficult for me to see Blackburn as a complete failure.

“I did make mistakes there; you always make mistakes when you fail somewhere.

"I have analysed those failures but I don’t think they were quite as blatant as some people would like to think.”

And Hodgson, who hopes to team up with another former Blackburn boss – Kenny Dalglish – at Anfield also hit out at critics who say he has not had enough experience at big clubs.

He added: “Blackburn were a top side when I went there, we finished sixth in the league, Udinese have had success in the past and the four years I had with the Swiss national team going to the World Cup and European championships was successful.

"I regard comments like that as far too insular.”