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Gerard Houllier admitted he was delighted to return to Liverpool's bench for the first time since leaving the club in 2004 after watching Jamie Carragher's testimonial clash unfold alongside Roy Hodgson at Anfield on Saturday.
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The French tactician revealed he put the special request to Hodgson as he wanted to enjoy the unique experience of viewing a Reds game from the dugout once more.
"It was a little joke between Roy and I," Houllier explained to Liverpoolfc.tv. "I asked him if I could sit next to him on the bench and he said yes. I wanted to have that feeling again.
"It was important for me to be there to pay tribute to Jamie because I worked with him for six years and I enjoyed every minute of it.
"It was nice to see people happy to see me and I was as happy as they were. When you spend a good time at a club and develop strong relationships, it's always good to go back."
Houllier played a key role in Carragher's early development into one of Europe's finest defenders.
The Bootle-born star was an integral part of Liverpool's treble success of 2001, in which he was deployed primarily in the full-back positions.
Having since blossomed into an authoritative centre-back, Houllier feels Carragher has improved even further since his Anfield tenure.
"I am pleased he has developed. He did at first with Phil (Thompson) and myself, but he's continued to get even better and better, particularly in the centre-back position," he said.
"During my time here, he was playing more often than not on either the left or right of defence - but we won many things together."
Carragher was on the scoresheet at both ends during a 4-1 Liverpool XI victory over an Everton XI - and Houllier feels it fitting the Blues were the opposition.
He said: "Jamie is Liverpool through and through. The only other club he could have possibly moved to was Everton because of his Evertonian background, but now he is Liverpool.
"It was good to have him for derby games because he has the highest motivation on those occasions.
"He is a character, a competitor, has a great sense of humour and is not only a very good player but a good man too."
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Author: James Carroll Tagged:
, gerard houllier
, jamie carragher
, roy hodgson
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