Home>News Center>Sports

Liverpool dismiss manager Houllier
Updated: 2004-05-25 09:59

Liverpool dismissed Gerard Houllier on Monday after six years as manager.

Liverpool Manager Gerard Houllier poses for pictures on the pitch at Anfield after the announcement of his departure from Liverpool Football club. Houllier has managed Liverpool for six years.[AFP]
"After considerable thought and discussion, the board have decided to part company with the manager, and Gerard has accepted it with typical good grace," chief executive Rick Parry said.

After winning three trophies in 2001 Liverpool has had two disappointing seasons, and finished fourth in the league in 2003-04, well adrift of Arsenal and Manchester United.

The French manager said: "I arrived here six years ago as a Liverpool supporter and I leave as an even bigger supporter. I may have left Liverpool but Liverpool will not leave me,

"I will return to watch the team as a fan," he told the club's Web site.

Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley and Valencia's Rafa Benitez are the bookmakers' favorites to take over at Anfield.

Houllier, 56, has been Liverpool manager since 1998. The former school teacher had previously coached the French national side and took Paris St. Germain to the French title in 1986.

He was appointed joint manager with Roy Evans in July 1998 before taking over sole command in November.

Houllier led Liverpool to the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup in 2001. In October 2001 he had emergency heart surgery and was sidelined for six months.

The Frenchman and his team have struggled since his return and few of his big-money signings have made the grade.

Liverpool, four-time European champions, missed out on Champions League soccer this season and scraped into next season's championship by finishing fourth.

Pressure on him has mounted in recent weeks as Liverpool considered a bid by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to take a 30 percent stake in the club.


The weight of Liverpool's record 18 league titles, along with the European Cups secured in a golden era of the 1970s and 1980s, have made it extremely hard for Houllier to live up to expectations.

A well-respected coach, he paid the price for Liverpool's failure to bridge a rapidly expanding gulf between the elite and the also-rans in the Premier League.

In 2003-04, Liverpool ended 15 points adrift of United and a whopping 30 points away from Arsenal.

Houllier had a dream season in 2000-01, winning the FA, League and UEFA cups, and later adding the European Super Cup.

He underwent emergency heart in October 2001 and returned six months later to steer the club to a solid second place in the league behind Double winners Arsenal.

Yet Liverpool never looked like title winners and has fallen further behind in the Premier League ever since, despite winning the League Cup in 2003.

Houllier has also been criticized over his transfer dealings.

Djimi Traore, Salif Diao, El-Hadji Diouf, Igor Biscan, Bruno Cheyrou and Milan Baros, along with French youngsters Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama-Pongolle, have singularly failed to flourish in English football.

Houllier has not been helped either by comparisons with his compatriot and friend Arsene Wenger, who has won three league titles and three FA Cups with Arsenal.

Wenger has groomed players unwanted by other clubs like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira into world-class talents and paid only £250,000 ($447,000) for his title-winning central defender Kolo Toure.

Though Houllier is a sound footballing tactician, his singular failure to inspire his own signings to similar levels is the key to Monday's move by the club.

  Today's Top News     Top Sports News

Spokesman: Chen still a threat to Straits peace



Monopoly law badly needed, report says



Bush outlines five steps to Iraqi sovereignty



Forced labour case voided in Japan



Russia's richest man to be tried



Oil near record, Saudi hike not enough?


  Minor leaguer ousts Agassi in Paris
  Intensity rises in T-Wolves-Lakers series
  Beckham's wife: He's never been unfaithful
  Liverpool dismiss manager Houllier
  Real Madrid fire Queiroz, give Camacho job of restoring glory days
  Monaco: Schumacher stops and Trulli wins
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools