Gerard Houllier offers backing to Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson

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The Independent Football

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier returns to Liverpool tonight backing Roy Hodgson to revive the fortunes of the Merseysiders.

Houllier can look back with satisfaction on his six years at Anfield and has "no regrets" after lifting the Reds out of the doldrums by winning half a dozen trophies.

Now he will meet long-time friend Hodgson in opposite dug-outs for the first time and is confident the former Fulham boss will bring the good times back to Liverpool.

He said: "Roy is a great pal of mine, he has been a good friend for a long time.

"We first met when he was coach at Malmo and I was at Paris St Germain and we had an indoor tournament.

"It has gone on from there. It was a League Managers' meeting where I saw him again - but we meet several times in a year.

"I don't think we have ever managed teams that have played against one another before.

"I am sure he will turn it around at Liverpool. He will do it. No problem. Give him a bit of time.

"He needs to change a few things. The problem is at Liverpool, when you lose, it's a crisis."

Houllier has retained a soft spot for Liverpool but knows it is important for Villa to obtain a positive result after a poor start to the campaign.

He said: "There is far more pressure than here (at Villa). But the board were patient, they knew we had to reconstruct and we did. Each year you try to build.

"I always think the mission of a manager is three-fold.

"The first one is to win a trophy and have silverware and win titles and so on - and we did that.

"The second one is to leave a legacy. I would just use my former chairman's words. He said 'you put the club into the 21st century' which it needed, maybe at the time.

"The legacy is the team because the team that was left with Rafa (Benitez) won the Champions League the following year.

"We also had new facilities and maybe a new style of professionalism I would say.

"I think the third mission of a manager is to make your players improve.

"We had a Ballon d'Or with Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard is a world-class international player.

"All the players, whether it was Danny Murphy, Emile Heskey, Stephane Henchoz or Sami Hyypia, all did well, contributed and became better players."

Houllier added: "I want to be proud of my team at the end of the game.

"That is the aim and we are desperate for a win.

"I wish we were in a better position, yes, because I would take more risks."