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Sunday 23 January 2011

Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish leads tributes to former team-mate Avi Cohen

Kenny Dalglish has paid tribute to former Liverpool team-mate Avi Cohen, who died on Tuesday.

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish leads tributes to former team-mate Avi Cohen
Great man: former Liverpool defender Avi Cohen won four trophies in his time at Liverpool, including the European Cup Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The 54 year-old Israeli's death was confirmed by his son Tamir, the Bolton midfielder, following a motorcycle accident last week.

Left-back Cohen played for Bob Paisley's Liverpool side between 1979 and 1981 and scored the goal that won the Merseysiders the league title in 1980.

"Avi was a lovely man who will be remembered fondly by everyone at Liverpool who knew him," Dalglish said.

"He quickly integrated himself into the football club when he joined us and spent a lot of time learning English which really made him popular."

Dalglish, now Liverpool's academy ambassador, played in the same team as Cohen and recalled the Israeli's most famous game.

"He was well liked by all the lads and although he didn't spend a long time at the club, he certainly left his mark and no-one will forget how he helped us win the league against Aston Villa," Dalglish said.

"My thoughts and those of everyone connected to the club are with Avi's family."

Cohen also played for Rangers during his career, and their assistant manager, Ally McCoist, admitted he had been left "shattered" by the news.

McCoist won the 1987 Scottish League Cup alongside Cohen, and told the Rangers website: "I'm absolutely shattered as are all the boys who got to know Avi during his time at Rangers.

"We knew his situation was bad but never for a second did we think it would come to this.

"He was an absolute gentlemen. His football talent was obvious but he was just a lovely, lovely man.

"Avi and Bonny Ginzburg both came from the same neck of the woods and myself and Durranty [Ian Durrant] got on with them so well.

"In fact a couple of years ago when we played Hapoel Tel Aviv we spoke to Avi and Bonny also came to the hotel. So we kept in touch and it is just so sad to hear that he has passed away.

"I can still see his smile and his laugh, he was just a diamond of a guy. All our thoughts are currently with his family who must be absolutely devastated right now."

The fatal crash occured on Dec 20 and Bolton's Tamir confirmed at a press conference: "Dad died of brain death. Thanks to all the people of Israel for their support and assistance."

West Ham manager Avram Grant said of his fellow countryman Cohen: "I know him personally, he was a great man, a great player and my sympathy is with his family."

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