Last updated : 02 January 2003 By Editor

Houllier speaking before last night's defeat to Newcastle:

"You have got to go through this type of phase to come back and be bigger. You need these tests of character to improve. We have everything it takes to bounce back from this. I'm convinced that the second half of the season will be special for us. The title race starts here. You will see the best of us in the second half of the season."

Here he is 90 minutes later:

"I have to be honest, it will now be difficult to catch Arsenal. I don't like to commit suicide but I acknowledge the difficulties we now face. "

"It will be difficult to catch up with Arsenal - they're 12 points ahead now - but we never know what will happen in football. "