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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Houllier to leave Liverpool
Exclusive by Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Gerard Houllier
Liverpool will announce the departure of manager Gerard Houllier on Monday, BBC Sport has learned.

Houllier's Anfield reign is scheduled to end with official confirmation from the club at 1200 BST.

He arrived at Anfield in the summer of 1998 and took sole charge from Roy Evans later that season.

Liverpool will start the search for his successor immediately, with Charlton's Alan Curbishley and Valencia coach Rafael Benitez the early favourites.

However, the agent of Valencia chief Benitez told BBC Sport on Sunday that Liverpool had not made contact with his client.

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish had been linked with a return to the club, but BBC Sport understands this is unlikely.

Houllier has paid the price for Liverpool failing to mount a serious title challenge last season, even though he guided the club into the Champions League.

It brings to an end a tenure that enjoyed its major successes, with the FA Cup, Uefa Cup and Worthington Cup won in 2001.

Houllier also won the Worthington Cup in 2003 with a 2-0 win against Manchester United, but he has been the subject of fierce criticism this season.

Liverpool have yet to formally start the search for his successor, with the Anfield hierarchy determined to avoid getting into a long-running saga of the kind which has engulfed Chelsea.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Sport Interactive's Phil McNulty
"It will be an amicable and dignified departure"





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