HOULLIER REBUKES FALL-OUT CLAIMS
By Philip Seery
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Robbie Fowler, Jari Litmanen and Nick Barmby have all been bit-parts for Liverpool this season and media speculation has suggested that the trio may seek pastures new.
Houllier however insists all is well in The Reds dressing room and the three players mentioned will play an important part in his and the club's plans.
"Some papers without grounds, are saying something is going wrong with Nick or Jari. First it was Robbie and we had a laugh between us about those stories," explained the Liverpool boss.
"These fall-outs have all been conjured up out of thin air. Obviously, four or five are not happy at not being involved, but we won things last season by staying united and by having players who were up for the task when called upon."
But the Liverpool supremo, who has already shown his no-nonsense approach with the ostracisation of Sander Westerveld will not hesitate in letting some of his stars go if they want to leave the Merseyside titans, adding: "They are part of my plans but if they want to go we'll get someone else in."
Finnish icon Litmanen has become fourth choice in Houllier's striking quartet but the former technical director of France maintains the treble winners need the experienced ace and has assured him of his future.
"Jari is definitely an important part of the squad," said the Frenchman.
"I fought hard to get him here. We need four strikers and he is the fourth.
"Bayern Munich have six and Manchester United have five. Jari understands the position.
"He is fit and is fine. At the moment I am sticking to two players because they are doing the job. It doesn't mean the two who are not playing don't deserve to play."