Former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle has revealed the details of an explosive war of words between El Hadji Diouf and ex-Reds captain Steven Gerrard, adding that the forward’s English was so bad that he asked then-manager Gerard Houllier to translate his expletives.
Diouf, who was never far from controversy during his playing career, joined Liverpool in 2002 after a prolific period at Lens, although his time at Anfield yielded only three Premier League goals across 55 appearances and he was eventually sold to Bolton Wanderers.
Goals may have been at a premium during his spell in England but drama was not, with the former Senegal international fined several times for improper conduct, including spitting at opposition fans.
Diouf had little love for Gerrard too, the former admitting in the past that he showed the Anfield icon “he was nothing” upon his arrival, insisting that he respected the player “but not the man” and that the now-Rangers boss wouldn’t look in his eyes “because he was afraid”.
Sinama Pongolle, a youngster in Houllier’s squad at the time, got to see the pair’s spats up close and revealed details of a particularly heated dispute during the break in a pre-season match.
“[It was] half-time of a pre-season game… fight between Diouf and Gerrard. I was traumatised,” the 35-year-old said during an Instagram live session. “Can you imagine the young ones seeing this and thinking that’s what professionals are like at that level?
“At half-time, in the dressing room, Stevie G is all like, ‘you have to pass, you have to pass’ – and [Diouf] just loses it. He didn’t speak English, his English was rubbish, so you know what he did? They hated each other so much…
“Steven Gerrard arrives and he insults Diouf: ‘Hey, you fcker’. And Diouf couldn’t answer, so he grabs Gerard Houllier and says: ‘Tell him I’ll fck his mother!’. He came in and said: ‘I’m not his mate, I’ll do him in straight away’.”
Despite the negative headlines that followed Diouf, the attacker was named African Player of the Year on two occasions and took in further spells at Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers, Rangers and Leeds United before calling time on his career in 2015.