Milan Baros was well known amongst youth scouts for his brilliant displays for the Czech youth teams, but was still an unknown at the big stage when Houllier snapped him up.
He made his breakthrough at Anfield at the start of season 2002-2003 leaner and meaner and ready for action. He won admiration for his sheer determination to stamp his authority on the game. His energetic runs up field with the ball at his feet were a joy to behold.
Baros was the top-scorer in Euro 2004 with five goals in five games as the Czech Republic reached the semi-finals, but after a good start to the 2004-2005 season his form faded and Rafa decided to cash in by selling the player to Aston Villa towards the end of August, 2005.
Baros then rejoined Houllier at French champions Lyon in January 2007. Although his new club won their sixth French Division One championship in a row a few months later Houllier was replaced by Alain Perrin and the Czech forward played significantly less under the new manager. Towards the end of the January 2008 transfer-window he was unveiled as a Portsmouth player, initially on loan until the end of the season. Baros helped Portsmouth reach the FA Cup final and he received a winners' medal after coming on as a substitute for Kanu with three minutes remaining of the Wembley final against Cardiff City. However he hadn't impressed Harry Redknapp to sign him permanently and he returned to Lyon after failing to score in 16 appearances for Pompey.
Baros joined Harry Kewell at Turkish giants Galatasaray in the summer of 2008. He enjoyed a very successful first season in Turkey, scoring 26 goals from 43 first-team appearances in all competitions. This was the highest total of goals he had scored in a single season since becoming a professional footballer in his homeland with Banik Ostrava in 1998. Milan's total of club goals is now just short of the 100 mark. There is, however, considerable doubt over him adding to his impressive international total of 32 goals from 72 matches as he was banned indefinitely from playing for his country after a breach of discipline in April, 2009.
Banik Ostrava, Aston Villa, Lyon, Portsmouth (loan), Galatasaray