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Gerard Houllier, former Liverpool manager, dies age 73

Gerard Houllier, the former Liverpool manager, has passed away at the age of 73.

The Frenchman, who spent six years at Anfield, has passed away just days after a heart operation.

The news was confirmed in France initially by both L’Equipe and RMC.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker immediately paid tribute on social media, stating: “Oh no! Gerard Houllier has passed away. One of football’s smartest, warmest and loveliest people.”

Houllier initially arrived at Anfield in July 1998, joining the club as co-manager with Roy Evans.

Evans resigned on November 10, leaving Houllier in sole charge, from where he rebuilt a side that had been labelled the “Spice Boys”.

Houllier with Michael Owen during his reign at Anfield

That culminated in the club’s five cup success of 2001, as they claimed the UEFA Cup, FA Cup, League Cup, Charity Shield and UEFA Super Cup.

In October of that year, Houllier suffered emergency heart surgery after falling ill on the bench during a Premier League fixture against Leeds United.

He was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation due to the discovery of a heart condition, an aortic dissection.

Nevertheless, he returned to the club after five months away, and with the help of assistant Phil Thompson, led the club to a second place finish in the 2001-02 season.

Houllier ultimately left Liverpool in 2004, having also overseen an overhaul of the club’s youth system, being replaced by Rafa Benitez.

Houllier celebrates winning the UEFA Cup in 2001

He would subsequently return to coaching in France with Lyon in 2005, before a return to England with Aston Villa in 2010.

However, Houllier’s spell at Villa Park was cut short due to illness, forcing him to step down from his role after just nine months.

There will be more to follow.

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