“Off on a stretcher” argument that split the locker room during Man Utd vs. Liverpool cup match

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored Manchester United's winner late onBefore Manchester United’s famous double late salvo in Barcelona in 1999 they had a dress rehearsal.

Four months before that iconic Champions League final win over Bayern Munich which secured the Treble, United scored twice late on to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup fourth round, with Dwight Yorke equalising in the 88th minute and then, sure enough, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer grabbing the winner in stoppage time.

It was a sickener for a Liverpool side who had led ever since Michael Owen’s third minute goal, but it exposed the issues facing manager Gerard Houllier, then in just his second month in sole charge after the doomed joint-manager experiment with Roy Evans had been brought to a swift conclusion.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored Manchester United's winner late on

Paul Ince, the former United midfielder, was Liverpool’s captain at the time, but he and Houllier never quite saw eye-to-eye from the beginning, and something broke that day at Old Trafford after Ince was replaced by Jason McAteer in the 71st minute as the visitors sought to hold on.

For Jamie Carragher it was a moment which would go on to sum up a relationship which seemed doomed from the start, but which also served to provide him with great advice.

“Paul Ince, great player and a great fella, didn’t have the career at Liverpool that he maybe had at other clubs,” Carragher recalled to the Diary of a CEO podcast last year. “I think Gerard Houllier wanted to make a fresh start and take on the big guy. He was certainly that, maybe England captain or vice-captain at the time, but he [Houllier] wanted to completely revolutionise Liverpool.

Ince and Houllier didn't see eye to eye at Liverpool

“He had words with Paul Ince. It wasn’t about him having words, as such, but he didn’t really back down. He held his own, had a strong argument in the team meeting and he stood up to one of the best midfield players of his generation.

“Paul Ince questioned what we were doing in training, as seasoned players do at times. Gerrard Houllier saw it as his opportunity to stamp his authority. It was almost like he was glad Paul Ince had said it. I don’t think the message was for Paul Ince, as I think he was always going to get rid of Incey, I think the message was to the rest of us. Don’t try and take me on.

“Paul Ince was one of the bravest footballers you’ll see, but in a particular game against Manchester United we lost 2-1 in the last minute, and it was a very sore defeat for everyone. Because Incey had jumped up and said something, he [Houllier] went straight back and said he wasn’t very happy that he’d come off and said ‘my captain should come off on a stretcher at Old Trafford.'”

The severity of Ince’s injury that day was never known, but he was back playing in a game against Coventry six days later – another 2-1 defeat. Coming off the bench late on that day was Steven Gerrard to make just his fifth senior appearance. Houllier’s Liverpool revolution was beginning.

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