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LIVERPOOL manager Gerard Houllier has paid tribute to the medical team that saved his life.

The 54-year-old Frenchman is recovering from last week's 11-hour operation to repair a tear in the aorta, the main artery of his heart, which if untreated kills 50% of patients within the first 48 hours.

Houllier joked that he had been well served on the pitch and off it by men named Murphy.

"I'd like to thank in particular Mr Abbas Rashid, Miss Elaine Griffiths, Dr Jim Murphy and Dr Rob Stables for all their efforts during the last week.

"In fact, after Danny Murphy's equaliser against Leeds earlier in the afternoon another Murphy played a blinder for me.

"No one understands better than I the importance of the team behind the team and everyone at the hospital has been first class."

He also had special thanks for the club's fans and his many well-wishers.

"I've been astonished by how many flowers, get well cards and messages of support I've received and been very touched and moved by this.

"The Liverpool fans have been brilliant with me, but I'm also extremely grateful for the kindness and good will shown by others in this city and people all over the world."

Houllier went on: "I feel much stronger physically and mentally and the constant support of my wife and family has been a crucial help to me."

A hospital spokeswoman said: "Mr Houllier has been out of intensive care and on a ward since Saturday and he has been in a very positive mood, which is helping his recovery no end."

"His progress since the surgery has been very encouraging and he has been having physiotherapy."

She said that Mr Houllier's condition was being assessed on "a day by day basis" and that doctors had not yet decided when to discharge him from hospital.


HOULLIER: Praise for heart team
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 23, 2001
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