Liverpool part company with Houllier

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The Independent Football

Liverpool have parted company with manager Gerard Houllier but the Frenchman insisted: "I may have left Liverpool, but Liverpool will not leave me."

Liverpool have parted company with manager Gerard Houllier but the Frenchman insisted: "I may have left Liverpool, but Liverpool will not leave me."

The news brings to an end weeks of speculation that the Frenchman's time at Anfield was drawing to a close.

Houllier's departure was announced on the club's website www.liverpoolfc.tv, and in his final interview with the website he made it clear he still has a strong affinity for the club.

"I arrived here six years ago as a Liverpool supporter and I leave as an even bigger supporter," he said.

"I may have left Liverpool, but Liverpool will not leave me. I will return to watch the team as a fan.

"I have four special memories that I take away with me," the Frenchman explained.

"Michael Owen scoring the winner against Arsenal with his left foot .125in the FA Cup final.375, Gary McAllister being handed the man of the match award against Alaves .125in the UEFA Cup.375, the mosaic when I was recovering from heart surgery and Steven Gerrard taking his daughter around the pitch on the last day of the season."

Chairman David Moores and his board did not give public backing to the manager after he achieved the "minimum requirement" of Champions League qualification by finishing fourth.

The Reds trailed Premiership champions Arsenal by 30 points and were 15 points behind third-placed Manchester United.

Houllier won five trophies in 2001 and won the League Cup for a second time in 2003, but failed to return the club to the past glories of the 1970s and 1980s.

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said: "After considerable thought and discussion the board have decided to part company with the manager and Gerard has accepted this with typical good grace.

"We have always said we would review our position at the end of the season and that is what we have now done.

"Although we have reached the Champions League that is a minimum standard and not a goal.

"For a variety of reasons the board decided that change was necessary if we were to realistically challenge for the title next season.

Parry added: "But this is not a day for anger, recrimination or speculation. It is a day for dignity and respect and I want to publicly thank Gerard for his considerable achievements during his time in charge.

"We all have very fond memories of the historic treble and the other trophies won but there were many other special occasions and I will personally never forget the reception given to Gerard after he returned from illness for the Champions League game against Roma.

"We had many good times together."

Houllier paid tribute to his players, saying: "Thanks to them we have won six trophies. We have also qualified for the UEFA Cup once and for the Champions League three times in the last four years."

"Thanks also to David Moores, Rick Parry, the board of directors, Phil Thompson and all the staff at Anfield and Melwood.

"The team and I have had a great relationship despite the mischief that has been spread recently.

"The club has considerably improved both on and off the field and must keep on developing.

"The club is in my heart. It is one of the most fantastic clubs in the world.

"But the club needs to consider its roots and understand that it cannot always have a quick fix."

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