Gerard Houllier gets warm welcome, but chilled by result
GERARD HOULLIER has long since divided opinion at Anfield.
Many remember him as the manager who landed an unprecedented cup treble and snapped up the likes of Sami Hyypia, Didi Hamann and Gary McAllister.
For others he’s the boss who wasted a glorious chance to end the club’s long wait for the title by frittering away cash on misfits like El Hadji Diouf, Salif Diao and Bruno Cheyrou.
Last night everyone was in agreement. The Frenchman and his Aston Villa team were the perfect guests.
Houllier’s emotional return six and a half years after he parted company with Liverpool turned into a personal nightmare.
On paper a Reds side without Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher looked vulnerable. Instead they ran riot as a dismal Villa side were swept aside with consummate ease.
The welcome for him was warm but what followed will have chilled Houllier to the core. His team were outclassed and outfought in every department.
The stand-in strikeforce of David Ngog and Ryan Babel got Liverpool off to a flyer and Maxi Rodriguez’ sweet strike wrapped up the points in the second half.
It was the perfect night for Roy Hodgson with the performance going some way to backing up the manager’s claim that he’s finally getting the Reds playing in the style he wants.
Villa were abject but they still had to be put to the sword and that was done swiftly and with a swagger.
This was a fourth successive home triumph and lifted Liverpool back into the top eight and within sight of the European places. The Reds are finally looking up rather than over their shoulder.
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