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Liverpool's Carragher recalls Houllier's amazing Ince blast

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has revealed how the mild-mannered Gerard Houllier tore strips off Paul Ince while they were together at Anfield.

In his autobiography, 'Carra: My Autobiography', Carragher describes how Houllier underlined his authority by tearing a strip off Ince but ended his reign a broken man after being struck down by a life-threatening heart condition.

"Ince was the unwitting victim of the most brutal exhibition of management I have seen at Anfield," he says. Liverpool were leading an FA Cup fourth-round tie at Old Trafford 1-0 but, after Ince limped off, United fought back to win 2-1.

"There was a team meeting a week later, and Ince decided, as club captain, it was time to take Houllier on. He questioned training methods and the response was furiously impressive.

"Fixing Ince with a stare, Houllier asked: 'Since the day I arrived, how many five-a-sides have you won? I'll tell you - four in six months.'

"Ince was bewildered, as we all were, by Houllier's memory and grasp of detail, and it didn't end there. 'Now perhaps you can explain to the lads what happened to you against United. When my team are 1-0 up at Old Trafford in a cup tie, I don't expect my captain to limp off with an injury. If he has to come off, I expect it to be on a stretcher.'

"A few years later, the Houllier I saw was a pale imitation of the man who had taken on the most powerful player in the club. The illness had taken its toll, and he started asking Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen who he should pick.

"I had a hollow feeling inside. I knew he had to go. The man needed a break and when his time was finally ended it came as a relief."

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Tribal Football Staff

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