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If Houllier had stayed


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Guest Anders Honoré
would we have got 4th place this season?

 

I reckon our league places would have been pretty similar to what they have been under Rafa, but we wouldn't have had anything like the same success in Europe

 

probably. hard to say how much he had lsot the dressing room when he left though.

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would we have got 4th place this season?

 

I reckon our league places would have been pretty similar to what they have been under Rafa, but we wouldn't have had anything like the same success in Europe

 

Depends, when he took over Lyon the old GH looked back. If we'd survived that season, then maybe he would have turned it around but Gerrard would certainly have left. Sometimes a job just become untenable.

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he needed the time out that he got after leaving liverpool, i think, although a title at lyon isn't anything like definitive proof he'd rediscovered the passion, ability, decision-making, confindence etc. one needs to take liverpool forward. despite pressure from bourdeaux alain perrin's about to win the title with them this season.

 

in the two years after his heart problem the club went backwards pretty drastically. in terms of personnel i think we were worse off when rafa took over than we were when ged did.

Edited by george lees
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the problem would have gotten worse. I loved the 2001 season. The reality is the value of the squad handed over to Rafa, and the value of the squad now, not to mention the reserves and European cup runs.

 

indeed, because the squad he handed rafa was, by and large the one that won the European Cup, and the squad he put together won a few trophies. he got sacked for finishing 4th.

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Do you think we'd have won the European Cup under Houllier?

 

Incidentally, I'd say Garcia was one of the key reasons behind our EC win and he was a Rafa signing.

 

Then again, it doesn't surprise me that you'd look for any opportunity to belittle Rafa's achievements. I'm expecting the one about Madrid and Barca being in a state of transition to crop up soon.

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Do you think we'd have won the European Cup under Houllier?

 

Incidentally, I'd say Garcia was one of the key reasons behind our EC win and he was a Rafa signing.

 

Then again, it doesn't surprise me that you'd look for any opportunity to belittle Rafa's achievements. I'm expecting the one about Madrid and Barca being in a state of transition to crop up soon.

...and, lest we forget. so was Xabi Alonso. They were key in adding a quality we didn't have at that point, again, rather weirdly - so did playing Igor in the CM as opposed to some weird CB hybrid as Ged tended to play him on his rare outings.

 

In the end, I suspect George Lees post has it about right - Ged needed time out anyway...but overall it's not a question that can be answered with any certainty.

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Guest Scot
indeed, because the squad he handed rafa was, by and large the one that won the European Cup, and the squad he put together won a few trophies. he got sacked for finishing 4th.

 

I'd say he got sacked for looking incapable of winning the league however long he had.

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I'd say he got sacked for looking incapable of winning the league however long he had.

That's a reasonable shout - though there was an awful lot of background noise at the time wasn't there? Bits of in-fighting etc which probably helped make the decision timely.

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Guest Scot
That's a reasonable shout - though there was an awful lot of background noise at the time wasn't there? Bits of in-fighting etc which probably helped make the decision timely.

 

I'd have given him his cards a year earlier

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I'd have given him his cards a year earlier

Aye, you were consistent in saying that at the time. Not sure we'd have got or even gone for Rafa had we done so though - which raises a whole new topic I suppose.

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I think alonso and Garcia would have something to say. As would Carra who was moved to centre.

 

Reina, Torres, alonso, Masch, Agger, Skrtel. then crouch, gerrard, Carra all stepping up.

 

Or as I prefer to put it: Nemeth, Bruna, Pacheco, Plessis, Insua, Hobbs, Anderson, Amoo, Ecclestone.

 

Not one of those may make it to the first team, thats the reality with youth. but only a blind man saw any of the youth under Houllier making it through to the first team.

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he needed the time out that he got after leaving liverpool, i think, although a title at lyon isn't anything like definitive proof he'd rediscovered the passion, ability, decision-making, confindence etc. one needs to take liverpool forward. despite pressure from bourdeaux alain perrin's about to win the title with them this season.

 

in the two years after his heart problem the club went backwards pretty drastically. in terms of personnel i think we were worse off when rafa took over than we were when ged did.

 

There's no way that was the case. Houllier turned the club around fundamentally. How easy it is to forget the 'spice boy' culture where we had a talented group who'd gone completely off the rails. By the start of Houllier's first full season his side was unrecognisable from the one he'd inherited. Only Gerrard and Owen survived, with Carra coming through the ranks, and Redknapp a bit part player because of injuries. Fowler too couldn't be relied on as his career was fading fast, with injuries and the 'good life' taking it's toll.

 

Rafa may not have inherited GH's strongest squad, but it was at least a professionally run outfit, and he was able to use the core of it to win the European Cup. As recently as 2007 Houllier's axis of Carra, hyypia, Riise, Finnan, Hamann and Gerrard were still all first team regulars.

 

Let's not forget that we were already building a European pedigree under GH. The UEFA cup was won knocking out some top sides, and the following seasons CL run saw us get to within 4 minutes of a semi-final.

 

Also when GH took over Liverpool were languishing at about 16th in the table and getting worse by the week. The team Rafa inherited had at least finished GH's final season strongly and got that vital 4th place spot. That, at the end of a season where his only buys had been Kewell for £5m and Finnan for £2m. Even then that was a tiny spend. What would we have asked of Rafa if he'd only been allowed that much to spend last summer ? We'd have said he'd do well to get anywhere near 4th.

 

How times change.

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By Ged

Yes he did, in his final season. Roy Evans also played him there with Matteo for a while. Whilst Rafa has implemented many new ideas since he has been here, playing Jamie at centre back was not one of them.

 

As for Ged, people saying it was basically his team that won the European Cup is more like damnation than praise. Rafa came in, added a couple of signings, coached the team differently and won it. When Wenger arrived at Arsenal he did the same and won the double but you don't see anyone saying 'but it was Rioch's team!'.

 

When we were on the cusp of something big after 2001, many, including Ged, believed that a couple of top quality forward players would allow us to play a more expansive game and really challenge for the big prizes. Then came the Summer of Spam. Diouf, Diao and Cheyrou. When we tried to play a more attacking game, with a midfield of Gerrard holding and Smicer, Kewell and Diouf supporting Heskey and Owen, we had some really encouraging performances. I was at Blackburn away during that period and we ripped them a new one in the second half. I remember thinking that maybe we were onto something here, but Ged obviously didn't have the courage of his convictions and a couple of setbacks later he reverted to plan A of two banks of four and the ball over the top to Owen, an already stale and predictable idea. The opportunity was gone and we went backwards from that point on. Probably not Ged's fault, he's always been a safety-first kind of manager and we always knew that. I'll still always be grateful for 2001.

 

I reckon if we're going to win the league in the forseeable future then someone, the manager or the owners, is going to have to take a gamble and hope it pays off. More money or a more risky style of play. Houllier tried and came up short, I hope Rafa tries. Percentage football and limited spending will make it almost impossible to take that final step. IMO of course ;)

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There's no way that was the case. Houllier turned the club around fundamentally. How easy it is to forget the 'spice boy' culture where we had a talented group who'd gone completely off the rails. By the start of Houllier's first full season his side was unrecognisable from the one he'd inherited. Only Gerrard and Owen survived, with Carra coming through the ranks, and Redknapp a bit part player because of injuries. Fowler too couldn't be relied on as his career was fading fast, with injuries and the 'good life' taking it's toll.

 

Rafa may not have inherited GH's strongest squad, but it was at least a professionally run outfit, and he was able to use the core of it to win the European Cup. As recently as 2007 Houllier's axis of Carra, hyypia, Riise, Finnan, Hamann and Gerrard were still all first team regulars.

 

Let's not forget that we were already building a European pedigree under GH. The UEFA cup was won knocking out some top sides, and the following seasons CL run saw us get to within 4 minutes of a semi-final.

 

Also when GH took over Liverpool were languishing at about 16th in the table and getting worse by the week. The team Rafa inherited had at least finished GH's final season strongly and got that vital 4th place spot. That, at the end of a season where his only buys had been Kewell for £5m and Finnan for £2m. Even then that was a tiny spend. What would we have asked of Rafa if he'd only been allowed that much to spend last summer ? We'd have said he'd do well to get anywhere near 4th.

 

How times change.

 

that's all fair enough. i don't dispute that houllier brought a much-needed change in outlook to the club, and believe it is quite possible that without his heart problems we might have gone on to achieve something really substantial with him as manager.

 

the talent in the squad was there when he took over, however. whether he decided to get rid of much of it or not. a lot of the side that should have won the title in the mid 90s were still in place. fowler, redknapp, gerrard, carragher, berger and owen were all there in some stage of their development. as well as james, who, whatever people believed of him then has gone onto prove himself a decent keeper and professional. he improved the squad with some really astute buys during the initial three or four years.

 

we were never a regular champions' league outfit under houllier. we only once (during the season he was taken ill) achieved a total of more than 70 points under him. like all managers he had good and bad windows, but the last few were really damaging.

 

the squad that rafa took over was creaking in so many respects. our best players - gerrard and carragher apart - were all either aging or injured. heskey and owen who had provided so many goals for us were gone. to get that squad to a european cup final nevermind win it was a benitez miracle. i think he's done enough in that competition since to dismiss any notion that he owes any debt of gratitude to houllier, for all that he did.

 

i'd also argue that benitez has got more out of finnan and carragher than ged ever did.

Edited by george lees
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You mean "slightly screwed" then - cos we ain't remotely screwed at the moment

 

Incase you ain't noticed Will we are 2nd in the debt tables behind Valencia and thats with doing all this stuff in Europe on the pitch as well.

 

Moores wouldn't have been able to fund the squad anymore under Houllier and even if he did I woudn't have trusted Houllier to make the best signings.

 

So no success, no money.

 

Pretty much like now, but we have had success (To a certain extent).

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that's all fair enough. i don't dispute that houllier brought a much-needed change in outlook to the club, and believe it is quite possible that without his heart problems we might have gone on to achieve something really substantial with him as manager.

 

the talent in the squad was there when he took over, however. whether he decided to get rid of much of it or not. a lot of the side that should have won the title in the mid 90s were still in place. fowler, redknapp, gerrard, carragher, berger and owen were all there in some stage of their development. as well as james, who, whatever people believed of him then has gone onto prove himself a decent keeper and professional. he improved the squad with some really astute buys during the initial three or four years.

 

we were never a regular champions' league outfit under houllier. we only once (during the season he was taken ill) achieved a total of more than 70 points under him. like all managers he had good and bad windows, but the last few were really damaging.

 

the squad that rafa took over was creaking in so many respects. our best players - gerrard and carragher apart - were all either aging or injured. heskey and owen who had provided so many goals for us were gone. to get that squad to a european cup final nevermind win it was a benitez miracle. i think he's done enough in that competition since to dismiss any notion that he owes any debt of gratitude to houllier, for all that he did.

 

i'd also argue that benitez has got more out of finnan and carragher than ged ever did.

 

Lest we forget, we were being knocked out of the UEFA Cup by the likes of Marseilles and Celtic under Ged whereas under Rafa we can go to Marseilles' backyard and tonk them 4-0.

 

Rafa deserves some long overdue credit.

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