It was the fourth time on their travels that Liverpool had cruised into a lead and failed to collect maximum points.
Houllier concluded that the leakage was due to him attempting to implement a more expansive game than the previous season (where they had the best defensive record) and that he might have to go back to basics and lock the back door.
The Frenchman appears to have done just that.
Up to and including the trip to the Lane, Liverpool had conceded 15 goals in eight games on their Premiership travels. Since then they have let in a mere 10 in nine outings.
The foundations were laid by putting the bricks in place and leaving them there. Houllier’s rotation system does not apply to his defensive wall. Markus Babbel was installed at right back on a permanent basis, restoring the proven Sami Hyypia-Stephane Henchoz axis, and Jamie Carragher was pitched into an unfamiliar left back role.
Given Carragher’s previous spell in the centre, it is, in effect, a blockade of four central defenders. It doesn’t lend itself so much to devastating full-back play, but it seems to be working for the men in red.
Liverpool already have the Worthington Cup safely locked away in the cabinet — and spaces have been reserved for two others — all being well.
Barcelona were accounted for on Thursday to see Liverpool through to their 9<sup>th</sup> major European final, and Arsenal await in the FA Cup final.
Between now and then the Merseysiders have the small matter of a Champions League place to go for. No rest for the successfulÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦
It is in their own hands, but games in hand must be won to see off the challenge of Ipswich, Leeds and resurgent Chelsea (who have still to visit Anfield).
A home win over below-strength Spurs will be viewed as a must by the Anfield masses, but the Easter Monday win over Everton was only their third Premiership win in ten as Liverpool have been prone to dropping League points.
Glenn will be hoping that his experimental team can pick up some priceless confidence by forcing the dropping of a few more.
By Richard Hubbard
Gerard Houllier had fire in his eyes after seeing his team squander a lead and three points at the Lane in November. His eyes bulged with emotion as he tried to explain away how his expensively assembled defence had again betrayed their undoubted collective ability.