Honours WonÂ : League Cup (2001), FA Cup (2001), UEFA Cup (2001), FA Charity Shield (2001), UEFA Super Cup (2001), League Cup (2003)
GÃ©rard Houllier, the former French national coach, was drafted into the Liverpool management team for the 1998-99 season to work alongside Roy Evans. But Evans found that the partnership did not suit him and he quit during the season, at the end of which Liverpool finished a disappointing seventh – not even enough for a UEFA Cup place.
2000-01 was Liverpool’s best season for many years. The likes of Owen, Fowler, Steven Gerrard and Sami HyypiÃ¤ contributed to the club’s third place in the Premiership (thus qualifying for the Champions League) as well winning the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup, followed by the FA Community Shield and European Super Cup later in 2001. The League Cup was won by beating Birmingham City on penalties after a 1-1 draw, the FA Cup by beating Arsenal 2-1 with two goals from Michael Owen in the last ten minutes and the UEFA Cup by beating AlavÃ©s, in an extraordinary game, 5-4 in extra time.
By now, Liverpool’s side contained a new set of players including goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, defender and captain Sami HyypiÃ¤, young midfielder Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen‘s strike partner Emile Heskey.
Liverpool finished Premiership runners-up in 2001-02, their best league finish since 1991, but suffered a humiliating defeat in the League Cup Third Round at the hands of Grimsby Town. 2001 was also dramatic for Houllier personally as he suffered a major heart problem which kept him away from the club for part of the season.
Liverpool won another League Cup in 2003 but Houllier had again failed to deliver the league title, in fact finishing thirty points behind the champions Arsenal. Although Liverpool qualified for the Champions League by finishing fourth (making three qualifications during his tenure), fans saw Houllier’s conservative and defensive tactics as sacrificing too much attacking impetus to challenge Arsenal and Manchester United for the title. During this period Liverpool had their longest streak of not winning any games in the top flight. Against a background of growing disquiet amongst the Liverpool supporters Houllier and Liverpool parted by mutual consent at the end of the 2003-04 season, his replacement being the Spaniard Rafael BenÃtez who had just guided Valencia to the Spanish league title and UEFA Cup.