Houllier: Carling Cup win can kick-start a new era of success for Liverpool
Published 13:08 22/02/12 By David Anderson
Gerard Houllier believes winning the Carling Cup can ignite Liverpool - just as it did when he was boss in 2001.
Houllier's triumph over Birmingham 11 years ago heralded his golden spell at Anfield as Liverpool went on to win an historic treble that season and qualify for the Champions League for the first time since Heysel.
The Frenchman can see parallels between Liverpool now and back then when he was charged with the task of ending their barren run of the late 90s.
"There are similarities in the reconstruction programmes between when I took over in 1998 and Kenny this time around," he said.
"It takes time to build a team and this is a transitional season for them. I think Kenny has made some very good buys. They are young players and they will get better and better over the next few years.
"Winning the League Cup in 2001 gave us so much confidence for the rest of the season. It was probably the most difficult final we had.
"Trophies exhilarate a team. Not only did we win two more finals, but we went on a long unbeaten run in the league and got into a play-off for the Champions League.
"Liverpool have still got the FA Cup and a lot of good teams have already gone out of that. They have a good chance of getting a cup double.
"Winning the League Cup would be a tremendous boost for the rest of the season and will help Liverpool in their push to get into the top four."
Steven Gerrard will lead Liverpool out at Wembley for the first time in his career and Houllier says he will be critical against Cardiff in Sunday's Final.
"Steven has great leadership qualities and inspires those around him," he said. "That's why I made him captain at such a young age. He thrives on responsibility.
"He was out injured for a long time, but there are signs he's getting back to the top level.
"With Kenny in charge and Steven leading a team with so much potential, the future looks very bright for Liverpool.
"Winning the League Cup could be the start of something special.
"Getting that first trophy is hugely important. Liverpool Football Club has a culture of winning silverware."