Houllier calm amid the storm

GERARD HOULLIER has laughed off claims that his job could be on the line if Liverpool do not return to Europe’s elite by insisting he has a squad good enough to get the club back into the Champions League.

The Anfield manager and the club claim chairman David Moores’ seemingly critical remarks that Champions League qualification was the “minimum acceptable target” in a report to shareholders have been misinterpreted. Houllier also dismissed as “nonsense” a weekend report that he had been offered a job with the Australian Football Association.

“I laughed when I read the interpretation of what has been said. The chairman was simply saying what I have said all along,” said Houllier.

“We are still in a decent league position going into the turn of the year.”

“We were without six players at Newcastle at the weekend who are first-team regulars in Michael Owen, Harry Kewell, Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher, Milan Baros and Stephane Henchoz.

“I think pretty well everybody will be back in January. After that I think we will be really in there fighting strong to improve our position and get into the top four or third place, which is not out of reach.”

Moores has since distanced himself from suggestions he had delivered an ultimatum to Houllier.

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