Last updated : 03 January 2003 By Editor
The Telegraph claims:

Gerard Houllier might have questioned the commitment of his players after their shattering defeat away to Newcastle on Wednesday, but the Liverpool manager was last night given the unequivocal backing of the club's board in a rare statement from the chief executive Rick Parry.

"Arithmetically it's going to be a lot harder to catch Arsenal and it's very much in their hands now, but it wasn't so long ago Newcastle had a similar lead over Manchester United in the Premiership and we all remember what happened then.

"It's been a terrific last four years and we are still going in the right direction. We do have high expectations and when the club have finished fourth, third and then second there is only one place left to go.

"There is pressure here, and rightly so, and everyone is frustrated, but we still have the belief we will get to where we want to be. We go into the new year still in three cup competitions and we're not completely out of the title race yet."

Others aren’t convinced. Terry McDermott last night accused Gerard Houllier's Liverpool of letting down the history of the club.

"Liverpool were second to everything at Newcastle, who won every 50-50 ball. It just wasn't a Liverpool team as I know one, and that's a big problem.

"When you see Southampton above Liverpool in the table, you know you have a crisis on your hands, and that's what Liverpool have got.

"I don't go along with those who say Gerard should go. They need to give him more time but he's got to get them into the Champions League."

Phil “yes boss” Neal:

"It's a crisis, a horrible black hole, and I can't see the boys getting out of it. They have to develop another way of playing. We've been playing one way for four or five years, and teams are just sitting back and defending deep against us, leaving no room for Michael Owen to run into.

"That's not left the team with too many options and you don't win the Premiership playing with a cautious approach.

"If we'd gone into the last 10 games with a more positive approach, we could still have been up there.

"Gerard must keep the nucleus of the team together, rather than chopping and changing so much."

Incredibly Hoolaphoop has not picked the same starting line-up for more than two YEARS. And we call Fergie Tinkerbell!

There could still be one trophy heading for Anfield though. Amazingly that jester El Hadji Diouf has been shortlisted for the 2002 African Footballer of the Year Award. The winner will be revealed at the annual CAF awards ceremony to be held in Johannesburg on March 31.