Gerard Houllier, former Liverpool coach, dies at 73

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FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010 file photo, Aston Villa Gerard Houllier looks on before his team's English Premier League soccer against Birmingham City at Villa Park stadium, Birmingham, England. Gerard Houllier, a Frenchman who won three titles in one season as coach of English club Liverpool, has died. He was 73. Liverpool announced the death on Twitter on Monday Dec. 14, 2020. French sports daily LEquipe said Houllier died following heart surgery in France. (AP Photo/Simon Dawson, File)

PARIS – Gerard Houllier, a Frenchman who led English club Liverpool to three titles in one season following a disappointing spell as coach of France’s national team, has died. He was 73.

Liverpool and the French soccer federation announced the death Monday. French sports daily L’Equipe said Houllier, who also won the French league title with two different teams, died at home on Sunday following heart surgery in France.

“He is a true Liverpool legend and he is a true coaching legend," said Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. “He was really influential in the game. A great coach, but a human being who gave you a really warm feeling when you were around him. For all of us it is a big loss and a really sad day.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also paid tribute to Houllier, along with many current and former Liverpool players.

“Absolutely devastated by the news about Gerard Houllier," Jamie Carragher wrote on Twitter. “Loved that man to bits, he changed me as a person and as a player and got LFC back winning trophies. RIP Boss."

Houllier had a mediocre stint as coach of France's national team in the early 1990s, his short-lived journey ending with an embarrassing failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

His tenure at Liverpool was far more successful, leading the Reds to the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2001. He is one of only three managers — along with Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola — to have won three trophies with an English club in the same season.

Houllier joined Liverpool in 1998, initially as co-manager with Roy Evans before taking sole control within a few months after Evans stepped down. He rebuilt the team, bringing a more disciplined and tactically savvy approach using more foreign-based players.