Former Liverpool defender Markus Babbel has hailed Gerard Houllier following his death this week.

Houllier sadly passed away aged 73 on Monday resulting in an outpouring of tributes from those who had worked with him during his time in the game.

Most of those have come from those who played under him during his time at Liverpool, where he was manager from 1998 to 2004 and led them to five major trophies, including an FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2000-01.

Babbel was one of those fortunate to play for the Frenchman, joining Liverpool from Bayern Munich and enjoying his best days as a player under his guidance.

And he was keen to echo the sentiments of his fellow professionals when discussing his former manager to Sport 1.

“(It was) a dream came true for me at the Reds,” he said.

“And the conversations with Gerard were one of the reasons why I did it too. He made me feel that he really wanted me.

“He built something big in Liverpool. Without him, Liverpool would not be the club it is today if Gerard hadn’t pushed it back then.

“I am very grateful to him for bringing me back then.”

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Part of the praise for Houllier this week has been centred around the way in which he transformed the club during his time in charge.

Houllier had originally joined as joint-manager alongside Roy Evans but was given the full-time position not long after.

From that point he set about making the club a more professional outfit, ridding them of big names such as Paul Ince and working hard to wipe away the ‘Spice Boys’ image of the 90s.

That was something he succeeded in, with Babbel insistent that Liverpool would not be where they are now without Houllier’s guidance.

“It wasn’t as professional as it is today,” he added.

“On the pitch, the guys gave full throttle, outside the pitch, many players were very unprofessional. And Gerard brought Zug in and mercilessly sorted it out.

“He paid great attention to discipline, also off the pitch, that was very important to him. A culture was created that we could win big trophies again.

“The only thing that was denied him was the Premier League title. But Gerard provided the foundation for today’s success.”