Gerard Houllier: Rangers' Steven Gerrard says former Liverpool boss was 'special man'

Steven Gerrard (left) and Gerard Houllier (centre) celebrate at Liverpool
Steven Gerrard (left) and Gerard Houllier (centre) won three trophies in 2001 with Liverpool

Steven Gerrard says he is finding it "really hard to come to terms" with the death of "special man" Gerard Houllier, his former Liverpool manager, aged 73.

The Rangers manager said "yesterday was a really tough day" for himself and assistant Gary McAllister.

Both played under the Frenchman while he was manager at Anfield.

"Gerard obviously played a huge part in both our careers - and also our lives," Gerrard said. "He was more than just a manager. A caring man, a loving man."

Gerrard was given his Liverpool debut by Houllier in November 1998, five months after the former France head coach arrived at Liverpool, while McAllister was signed from Coventry City two years later.

"I always try and take all the best bits from all the coaches and managers I worked. It's impossible for me add the charisma, the care and the love that Gerard carried," Gerrard said.

"This was someone who wanted me to be a better person, who wanted me to build all the other stuff around the talent I had at that age. I'll never forget that."

Gerrard would win the FA Cup, League Cup, Uefa Cup, Super Cup and Charity Shield under Houllier, who he says shaped him into "a better player, a better person, a better leader".

"I've got an awful lot to thank the man for and I'm finding it really hard to come to terms with it," he added. "It's a huge blow."

Asked what memories he had of Houllier, current Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp replied: "Only the best. I met him a few times, texted a lot. He was a very supportive man, a great coach and an even better human.

"Very warm personality and a true legend of this club. He would have loved to see our new training ground as you know he was influential in the rebuild and modernising of Melwood.

"During construction work here, we were in contact. He would have loved to have seen it."

Klopp expected the Liverpool fans to pay their own tribute to Houllier at Wednesday's top-of-the-table meeting with leaders Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield.

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