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  Sunday, 9 December, 2001, 21:45 GMT
Liverpool back in the big time
Liverpool celebrate their dramatic Uefa Cup win over Alaves
Europe once again saw Liverpool winning trophies
Liverpool's Team of the Year award recognises the club's renaissance, as BBC Sport Online's James Standley reports.

After years in the wilderness, 2001 saw the re-emergence of Liverpool, under the stewardship of French manager Gerard Houllier.

It proved a mixed year for the respected French boss.

After steering the club to a remarkable club treble last season, Houllier was struck by serious illness in October.

He was rushed to hospital during Liverpool's game with Leeds, and had to have major heart surgery.

  Liverpool's year
February 25: Beat Birmingham 5-4 on penalties to claim Worthington Cup
May 12: Win FA Cup with last-gasp victory over Arsenal
May 16: Uefa Cup becomes second trophy to go to Anfield in four days after thrilling 5-4 defeat of Alaves
August 12: Win Charity Shield with 2-1 win against Manchester United
August 24: Bayern Munich go down 3-2 as European Super Cup becomes fifth trophy of season
Autumn 2001: Top the Premiership table after fine start to the season - despite Gerard Houllier's illness

Happily, Houllier is now well on the road to recovery.

In February, he led Liverpool to their first trophy for six years as they beat Birmingham on penalties to win the Worthington Cup.

Robbie Fowler scored a brilliant opener to put the Reds ahead.

But Division One side Birmingham hit back right at the end of normal time to take the final to penalties.

It was keeper Sander Westerveld who was Liverpool's hero, saving two penalties to ensure victory.

Houllier's side collected their second piece of silverware in May when Michael Owen's double beat Arsenal at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Arsenal were on top for most of the match and were just eight minutes away from victory.

But then Owen struck twice to complete the second leg of Liverpool's treble.

Resistance

They wrapped things up in thrilling style when beating Spanish side Alaves at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund four days later.

Liverpool led 2-0 and 3-1, but their opponents refused to give up and at the end of 90 minutes, the teams were locked together at 4-4.

However, Alaves were reduced to nine men and their resistance finally crumbled.

With three minutes of extra-time remaining, Delfi Geli headed Gary McAllister's free-kick into his own net to give Liverpool their historic treble.

Wins in the European Super Cup and Charity Shield took the trophy haul to five.

And Liverpool ended the year as odds-on favourites for the Premiership after a bright start to the 2001-02 season.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"From a personal point of view I feel much better now"

Beckham honour

The 2001 show

Winners profiled

Have your say

THE NIGHT IN PICTURES

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