Houllier keeping tabs on signings

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LIVERPOOL manager Gerard Houllier admits he regularly monitors the progress of Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama-Pongolle ahead of the Le Havre duo's arrival at Anfield.

The teenagers are due to move to the Premiership table-toppers next summer after signing pre-contract agreements with Liverpool.

Houllier beat off fierce competition from a string of leading continental clubs to clinch the captures of the highly-rated pair.

Both Le Tallec and Sinama-Pongolle (pictured) featured for France's successful World Under-17 Championship side last year and are involved in their first Le Championnat campaign this season.

Reds boss Houllier admits the duo have struggled on occasions but the Frenchman paid tribute to the management skills of Le Havre coach Jean-Francois Domergue.

"They have signed for five years and they represent the future of the club," Houllier told L'Equipe.

"We regularly send someone to follow their matches, usually once every two matches. I also try to watch their performances on TV, both with their club and with the French Under-21 team.

"Then, I also have them on the phone. Above all, I often talk with Jean-Francois Domergue to know what he is thinking about them and to know what they do in training sessions, their behaviour inside the group.

"They are two true talents, two different talents, who need to develop their muscles. But they are just 18-years-old and we have to be lenient with them because a first season at a high level is always very demanding.

"Logically, Anthony is a little not so good at the moment. However, they want to improve and I want to pay homage to Jean-Francois Domergue, who manages them with a lot of cleverness and does his best not to expose them needlessly."