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From ic Liverpool:
Now we fight for our lives Mar 26 2004
By Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo

GERARD HOULLIER has admitted his Liverpool team is fighting for its life in the last nine games of the season.

Champions' League qualification is the only target left for the club and he's called on his players to bounce back from their Euro woe with victory at Leicester on Sunday.

"We need to get what happened in the UEFA Cup out of our system," said Houllier.

"We have nine cup finals. Nine games to fight for our lives. It was disappointing last night because of what happened on the pitch.

"If we had been beaten 3-0 by a superior team, okay, but the referee's decision, which was wrong, changed the game. We were playing 10 against 11, or maybe 12.

"That's the past now and we have to focus on the nine games we have left.

"Let's find the inspiration we need. We have some leaders in our team. When I saw the effort in the last 20 minutes on Thursday I couldn't ask for more.

"In terms of effort and character we were magnificent and I was proud of my players. Our mental strength will be important to keep fourth place until the end.

"The fact we want Champions League football will also give us our inspiration. We'll ignore what's written in the newspapers."

With Leicester fighting off relegation, Liverpool can ill afford to drop points at the Walkers Stadium.

Houllier said: "They are a team on form and it will be an aerial battle. But we'll be ready for that."
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Can only say that I agree with GH.. the team are fighting for their lives! Houllier and the players at that..

We're reaching the end of our 'easy' set of games.. with 9 games left.. including trips to OT and Highbury.. the Magpies and Charlton paying us a visit.. and more.. I think we SHOULD treat every game as a cup final..

Hope his rallying cry reaches the players! :depress:
 

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From ESPN Soccernet:

Houllier brushes criticism aside


Gerard Houllier dismissed more speculation about his long-term future at Liverpool today by insisting: 'Those things do not bother me'.

In the wake of Liverpool's dismissal from the UEFA Cup in Marseille, he was confronted with headlines screaming for his exit if Liverpool do not reach the Champions League next season.

But Houllier laughed off yet another barrage of criticism over his job and future by saying: 'The sniping that goes on back home does not bother me. The motivation comes from where we want to be, not who we want to prove wrong.

'We are playing for us not against something. I really don't care about all the stuff that is supposed to be happening. I used to be upset because it upset my team but not any more.

'We will live with that, they are not upset now or bothered about what is written or said about the future.'

Houllier must now lift his team before Sunday's Premiership game at struggling Leicester, a match the Anfield men must win to hang onto fourth spot.

But he said: 'We have to get this Marseille result out of our system. Had we been beaten 3-0 by a superior team we would have put our hands up, but we were beaten by refereeing decisions.

'But that is the past now, we have nine league games remaining and we must find inspiration from what has happened to us. We must overcome the disappointment and keep battling on.'

Houllier has always maintained he will be at Anfield next season regardless of what is achieved this term, and believes he has players with a strength of character to achieve an aim many feel is beyond them.

He said: 'We have leaders in the team, the effort they put in showed that. They put in so much and battled on against the odds. When I see that I know we have the character and leadership to overcome this.

'I could not have asked any more from them. The mental strength will be the vital element to maintain our fight for fourth spot right too the end.

'We have the squad, we have strikers now to cope. We do not know whether Michael Owen will be available because of his latest injury but we have men to come in.

'The inspiration will come from the fact that we want to play Champions League next season. That is the target still.'

He added: 'The players were magnificent in terms of effort and character. They had to overcome the penalty, the sending-off, being down to 10 men and other dodgy decisions.

'I was very proud of them. Some could have done better, but playing 10 against 11, sometimes 12, was very hard.

'We must take the positives from this, the mental strength and desire was there. We must build on that.'
 
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