Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp paid tribute to former Reds manager Gérard Houllier after news of the Frenchman’s passing on Monday at 73 years old.
Houllier managed Liverpool from 1998 until 2004. During that time, he led The Reds to their 2000/01 treble of the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com following the news, Klopp said:
“It is really, really, really a sad day.
“I didn’t know Gerard too well – I met him a couple of times, but in those few moments he created a relationship with me which was really special.
“He is a true Liverpool legend and he is a true coaching legend. He was really influential in the game. A great coach, but a human being who gave you a really warm feeling when you were around him. For all of us, it is a big loss and a really sad day.”
Klopp spoke of the unerring support he had received from Houllier since taking over the Liverpool job in late 2015.
“I met him before I came to Liverpool and I knew him a little bit then,” explained Klopp. “When I arrived here, one of the first messages I received – and I didn’t even know he had my number – was from Gerard Houllier.
“I know he had other clubs – worked for other clubs, was successful with other clubs – but the way he described it, Liverpool was his club, his real club where he probably felt still connected more than any other clubs.
“He was really supportive from the first day; between now and then, always messages came in after big games, big defeats, big wins and all these kind of things. In between, Gerard really texted and told me, ‘That was right… that was wrong… I know the situation…’ and all this kind of stuff.
“He was a really, really, really nice and gentle person. I miss him now already. Maybe the only good thing you can say in the moment is he will never be forgotten here.”
Houllier played a huge part in bringing Liverpool into the 21st century with new approaches to diets within the squad and the training methods used at Melwood, as Klopp alluded to.
“Of course, they will remember [the trophies] – but I hope they will remember him as well as a man who gave his all for this club and changed the fortune of the club in difficult times.
“I am not sure, I was not here, but he brought this club back on its legs. He started in kind of maybe a strange situation as one of two managers, but made the best of it – that was his character, obviously – and then became very, very influential.
“I think, if you want to remember him, you have so many things you can remember – and that’s probably the best thing you can say about a person.”
Thanks for the memories, Gérard. Rest well.
For the most in-depth tactical and statistical analysis regarding Liverpool FC, sign up now! The original home of Pressing Stats, Anfield Index also brings you the latest views from club legends such as Jan Molby.
Hear from the UK’s top journalists, managers, professionals, sports scientists, physios and sports psychologists as we bring you the ultimate LFC fan experience provided on approximately 30 podcasts every month for our AI:Pro listeners!!
Enjoy all this and more for just £4.99 per month at Anfield Index Pro!!