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  Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 17:13 GMT
Houllier laments Gerrard form
Gerard Houllier (left) suffers with his team
Gerard Houllier admits he is running out of patience
Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier claims Steven Gerrard's "terrible" form made a massive contribution to their Champions League exit.

England midfield man Gerrard was taken off at half-time in Liverpool's 3-3 draw against Basle which saw them fail to qualify for the second phase.


He's having a terrible time - I have stuck by him but he just wasn't good enough against Basle
Gerard Houllier on Steven Gerrard
Salif Diao, Gerrard's replacement, helped Liverpool come from three goals down to almost snatch a dramatic win.

But Gerrard, who was also substituted at Middlesbrough on Saturday, cut a desperate figure.

And Houllier, who admitted he spent a sleepless night watching a video re-run, said: "He's having a terrible time. I have stuck by him but he just wasn't good enough against Basle.

"He's been going through a difficult period, he's got problems with confidence and has been down after his England displays. After injuries he has not got back to his best.

"We missed the good Steven Gerrard, the Steven Gerrard that we like and hopefully he will overcome this setback himself and come back even stronger."

But Houllier also warned he will not tolerate any more defensive displays like the shambles that effectively wrecked Liverpool's hopes.

He has already spent more than 100m in four years, and more players will be injected into the squad if he does not get the progress he wants.

Houllier said: "I expect my players to improve this season again, score more goals, concede less and get back to winning ways.

"I'm impatient and I don't like to wait.

"My team have proved in the past they are learning fast and I hope this game, this elimination, will be the opportunity for them to grow even bigger and to get better in the future.

"There is a fine line between success and failure. We are just growing up and we have to keep working on that because over a couple of months, if not years, we will get there.

"This setback will provide us with an increased desire to get back into the competition next season."

Houllier confessed: "I didn't sleep, I sat up and watched the game again and I'm obviously disappointed to be out of the competition."


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