Gerad Houllier’s return to Liverpool after five months out was absolutely beautiful

Tributes have been flooding in for former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier, who has died at the age of 73.

RMC announced the sad news of his passing on Monday morning.

The likes of Phil Thompson, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen have taken to social media to pay their respects.

They’ve been joined by countless fans who have shown their affection for an Anfield great. 

Houllier is credited with overhauling Liverpool’s squad and leading them to an impressive cup treble in 2001 as they lifted the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup.

Helping to develop the likes of Carragher and Steven Gerrard, he also laid many of the foundations for their success under successor Rafael Benitez.

The Frenchman was also revered in his native land, having coached the likes of Lyon, PSG and Les Bleus.

And as the world of football reminisces, many Liverpool fans have been sharing a clip which shows just how loved Houllier was at Anfield. 

In the 2001/02 season, he was beset with health problems and he had been rushed to hospital for a heart procedure following a Premier League game against Leeds. According to the Liverpool Echo, he was given just 48 hours to live. 

He was unable to manage another game for five months. 

The night Houllier returned 

However, he made a shock return on a special night of Champions League action on Merseyside when the Reds played Roma. 

“Here comes the emperor, back at Anfield” roared the commentator as he emerged into the stands to be greeted with a hug from the Giallorossi boss Fabio Capello. 

Houllier reportedly ignored doctors’ advice to go to the game and even gave the team-talk. 

Jari Litmanen scored an early penalty and Emile Heskey then made it 2-0 to ensure Liverpool qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals. 

“It means a lot, he’s back he’s done a lot for a lot of the players here, improved them tremendously,” Heskey said after the game. 

It was a deeply emotional night, which ended with Houllier sharing a special moment with The Kop as they sang You’ll Never Walk Alone. Rest in peace, Gerard.