GH praises world class Didi
LFC Official Website
Gerard Houllier sung the praises of German midfielder
Dietmar Hamann for his performance in the 1-1 draw at
Newcastle, with the boss calling him world class.
Houllier felt Hamann gave a performance worthy of the
ones he produced in the World Cup Finals with Germany,
and said he played a major role for the team at St
Hamann was booed and taunted throughout by his former
supporters at Newcastle but that seemed to inspire him
and he played a pivotal role just in front of the back
four for Liverpool.
Houllier said: "Didi brought great experience to the
side and marshalled the midifield superbly. He played
"Don't forget he's fresh because he hasn't played a lot
of games this season. I would say he produced a World
Cup performance for us today. He almost scored as well
with a great shot that brought a good save out of
explains Heskey withdrawn role
LFC Official Website
Gerard Houllier defended his decision to play just
one striker up front at Newcastle and explained he put
Emile Heskey in a withdrawn role to help out the
The Reds manager, without the injured Michael Owen and
Harry Kewell, said he needed more strength in midfield
to combat Newcastle's attacks and felt he needed a more
skilful player like Florent Sinama-Pongolle and then
Vladimir Smicer as the lone front runner.
Houllier said: "We were without six key players today,
including two players who score 60 per cent of our
goals. What am I to do? We had to show other qualities
today and I think we did that.
"There's two reasons why Emile played a slightly
withdrawn role today. I don't like to use a lone striker
who just holds the ball up and waits for midfielders to
join in. I don't do that. I want a threat up there,
someone who can find the spaces and cause problems.
"Florent did it well in the first half and then Vladi
did it when we took Flo off. Florent worked hard up
there on his own and I didn't want to burn him out up
there, that's why I took him off. He is only a young boy
and we have to be careful.
"It nearly worked because of the chance Vladi had
towards the end. I wasn't tempted to put Emile up
alongside him because I knew they would throw everything
at us. We had to keep it tight in midfield."
Houllier happy with draw
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier said he thought his
side fully deserved their point at Newcastle.
Houllier lambasted his players after their Carling Cup
defeat by Bolton in midweek, but he was pleased they
bounced back to secure a 1-1 draw at St James' Park.
"It was a deserved point. There was a lot of dramatic
intensity about the game and I thought we had a good
response. We showed guts and character," said Houllier.
"They dominated the game but we knew they would do that
because we have practically half a team out with
"I am a happier man because I think the performance
against Bolton was not satisfactory despite the fact we
rotated some players.
"The response was full of pride and very positive, and
yes that makes me extremely happy and very proud of
Influential midfielder Dietmar Hamann admitted
watching Liverpool was not pretty at the moment but said
the way they played was a necessity as they sought to
break through a bad patch.
"We were quite in control of the game until the penalty
but we can't complain about the draw," said the former
"I think the stage we are in at the moment we have got
to keep grinding out results.
"Coming to Newcastle and getting a draw is not that
bad," he added.
Shearer rescues Newcastle
BBC Sport Online
Alan Shearer's second-half penalty rescued a point
for Newcastle as both sides missed the chance to go
fourth in the Premiership.
Liverpool looked destined for that position after Danny
Murphy's early opener, a bundled effort following some
hapless Newcastle defending.
But Shearer rattled in his 11th goal of the season to
level on 62 minutes.
Bobby Robson's side should have gone on to win from
there, but were denied by some desperate defending.
This is a fixture that conjures up images of seven-goal
thrillers, though in recent meetings a single goal has
been enough to separate the pair.
When Murphy opened the scoring following Liverpool's
first attack in the sixth minute, the former seemed the
more likely scenario.
In reality, the early strike put the shackles on the
game and, for almost an hour, looked likely to prove
enough for victory.
The goal itself was shambolic from a defensive point of
John Arne Riise's hopeful cross was missed by both
central defenders, allowing Murphy a free run into the
His first touch was unconvincing, but his second was
enough to scuff the ball past the outrushing Shay Given
and give Liverpool a crucial advantage.
The home side's response was tame, two Jermaine Jenas
long rangers causing little trouble and Shola Ameobi
seeing a low shot smothered by Chris Kirkland after
Kieron Dyer had sent him clear.
Liverpool, despite sitting deep throughout, looked
menacing on the break.
But they were denied a crucial second goal five
minutes after half-time when Given held well from a
Steven Gerrard volley having already parried from
Florent Sinama Pongolle.
Sensing a let-off, the home side finally came out of
Robert was an inch away from equalising when his
well-executed free-kick curled just wide on the hour.
But the breakthrough arrived when Robert was felled by
the hesitant Kirkland after Dyer had opened up
Liverpool's stubborn defence with a clever pass.
Kirkland was booked for protesting and Shearer increased
the punishment by slamming his penalty in off the
underside of the crossbar.
The equaliser prompted a spell of one-way traffic as
Bobby Robson's side poured forward in search of a
Dyer looked as though he had supplied it when his
side-foot shot beat Kirkland but was spectacularly
headed away by Riise.
Seconds later, Murphy came to Liverpool's rescue when he
cleared off the line from Nolberto Solano's low shot.
But for all Newcastle's pressure, they almost
contrived to gift Liverpool victory when Titus Bramble
was outmuscled by substitute Vladimir Smicer, only for
the Czech midfielder to poke wide.
Dietmar Hamann came close to a late winner against his
former club, but his crisp volley was excellently saved
at full stretch by Given.
Then, finally, Kirkland produced a magnificent
fingertip stop to deny Shearer a dramatic late winner
after a neat lay-off from Dyer.