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|Vince Tracy Football Podcasts 2020
Eric Malpus, Rob Daniels and Friends
|26th November 2020
Rob Daniels joined me to discuss #DiegoMaradona
#ChampionsLeague #Liverpool #PremierLeague #Covid
.......we developed the idea that responsibility goes with wealth
when it comes to football and other sporting success.
#JurgenKlopp paid tribute to the footballing genius of Maradona
and commented on the fact that young men with prodigious
success attract the more difficult aspects of socialising with sex,
drugs and rock n roll dominating the newspaper headlines
|24th November 2020 - @EricMalpus discussed football
issues within and around our weird Covid world before
we moved to reflect on the week's Premier League
fixtures. We rejoiced in the news that fans will return
although we might all be bored to tiers in the UK! We
paid tribute to another Altzheimers victim and former
Man United legend, Maurice Setters. This lead to a
discussion on heading the football and comments from
Sir Geof Hurst. We then predicted the outcomes of the
Gerard Houllier likes to deal in threes.
He won a magnificent cup treble back in 2001 when he was in charge of Liverpool.
And he believes there is a hat-trick of good reasons why the current crop have just claimed the Premier League title.
Houllier explains: "One, they've been together for two years to work, train and play. There is a tactical harmony. The team is coming to full maturity now.
"Second, the buys of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson were pivotal in the title quest. When those two came into the team, it was different. They won the Champions League last year
and that tells you everything.
"And three, Jurgen Klopp. He gives so much enthusiasm and confidence to the whole squad. The team would go through hell and fire for him."
Houllier takes an extra moment to pay tribute to the man who has led Liverpool's recent return to the pinnacle of world football.
He says: "When you work in Liverpool, you've got to give 100%. I would even say 150%. You've got to give your all because that is the way people expect you to be.
"Jurgen gives more than you can see. If you combine his passion, his experience and his work, you have got a very successful cocktail.
"I enjoy the way they play. It's a very kind of generous football, which goes well with the generosity of people in Liverpool.
"The commitment and engagement of the team at the moment fits well with the spirit of the town."
In the modern era of Liverpool, it is tempting to track a lineage between the successful foreign managers who have occupied the dugout.
Houllier's triple cup haul put the Reds back in business as he also professionalised the set-up behind the scenes.
Rafa Benitez built on that success, turning Liverpool into Champions League winners and title challengers.
And Klopp has taken it even further by ending the 30-year wait for domestic glory along with adding a sixth European Cup to the trophy cabinet.
I pose this line of succession theory to Houllier but it is quickly dismissed.
He says: "It would be very presumptuous to say that.
"Every manager has got something he can improve when he succeeds.
When you are a manager, you need results and trophies. In Liverpool winning silverware is important.
"Second, you need to leave a legacy. That means you need to leave a team so the one who comes after you doesn't have to spend all his money. And also a legacy in terms
"And the third thing is to make players improve and to make your team improve. To make them progress.
"You mentioned Rafa and Jurgen. Obviously what I had to do in 1998 and the early 2000s does not [relate to] now in 2020. Rafa came after me. We cannot say we won the
"But we did our bit at the right time and hopefully the club benefited from that. For me, I was the first foreign coach. It was a turning point. We were moving from the boot room
tradition to something different."
What is beyond doubt, however, is the role Houllier played in the careers of two current Anfield stars.
For the best part of a decade, the 72-year-old has worked as Head of Global Football for Red Bull. He has overseen sporting development of the brand's entire roster of
clubs, including Salzburg in Austria and Leipzig in Germany.
And his watchful eye spotted the untapped talents of Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.
Houllier says: "I saw Mane during the Olympic Games in 2012. He was at Metz and we bought him at the time for €4m at Red Bull Salzburg.
"He played two years and won a [league and cup] double. Then he ran away to go to Southampton! And then on to Liverpool.
"He has become more and more composed. Very focused and more composed in front of goal particularly. He can make goals but he can also score goals."
Houllier was impressed when he first spotted Keita in action too. And he believes the Guinean can deliver for the Reds in seasons to come.
He says: "Keita was playing for a 'championship' team in France. They were struggling but he was playing everyone off the park.
"Like when I saw Steven Gerrard; he was practically everywhere and his maturity was impressive, even under pressure. I recommended Salzburg buy him and they followed