"If you look at what we’re doing here, there is a certain psychology and logic about everything we try to do, in terms of improving the team and bringing in young players. We tried to sign Chris before. He is a long-term prospect who has signed a six-year contract. He is the future. Chris could be the next England goalkeeper and we have a lot of faith in him."
Houllier on Chris Kirkland
"A month or so ago, Gary McAllister and I were talking about young goalkeepers and he spoke to me of a tall guy at Coventry who was only 19 and who was very good.
At the time, Magnus Hedman was in goal for them, but I remember realising as soon as Kirkland came into the side that he was the person Macca had been talking about.
Kirkland made some incredible saves against us. For someone so young, who’d only made his debut a few weeks earlier, I thought he was magnificent. Maybe the adrenalin is still flowing fast through his body, which is helping him play so well, but from what I’ve seen of him he must have a big future."
Westerveld in November 2000
"I have known him since he was 15 – when he was a big Bambi who could hardly kick the ball out of the penalty box. There is nobody better than him now, he’s as good as anyone, all he needs is experience and getting it is a problem – he’s behind Jerzy Dudek in the pecking order, one of the best goalkeepers in the world."
Gordon Strachan on Kirkland
Igor Biscan left Kirkland pole-axed and unconscious in the back of the net against Deportivo in Spain on 3rd November 2004:
"Igor was everywhere tonight wasn't he? It was just one of those things but he caught me and knocked me out. It took a while for me to come round again but I was okay. I thought Igor was excellent tonight. He's done really well this season and his performance was top class."
The ever-unlucky Kirkland
"His nickname should be Casper, after the ghost, because he's the whitest person I've ever seen!"
Neil Mellor in February 2005 on Kirkland
"I hope the problems I have had will now be over. Before the operation it wasn't just playing that was the problem, it was getting out of bed in the mornings and it was everything in general so I thought the best thing was to have the operation. I am fine now and can't feel anything which is great for me."
"It's difficult to put into words what I have been through. It's just been very, very disappointing and to be honest since I've come here it's been very stop start. I've had some serious injuries but you just have to carry on and keep your head up and that's what I am looking to do now. I've had people come up to me and wish me well and hope I can get back quickly which is nice. I don't know what I've done in a previous life but it couldn't have been very nice!"
Kirkland in March 2005
"I didn't think I was going to get a winners' medal, but the manager gave me his. It was an unbelievable moment. He came up to me on the pitch after the game and said: 'This belongs to you.' I was speechless. It meant a lot to me that he should do that. I think that gesture shows what kind of a man he is and how much he thinks of his players. I'd played in all the games except one on the way to Cardiff and it was very hard for me to miss out. But for the boss to give me a winner's medal is something I'll never forget."
Chris Kirkland‘s cruciate knee ligament injury wrecked his chances of taking part in the Worthington Cup final against Manchester United, meaning he missed out on the first winners' medal of his short career.