Liverpool march on as Owen endures unhappy return
Updated: 2005-12-27 09:19
LIVERPOOL, England (AFP) - Peter Crouch helped ruin Michael Owen's Anfield
return as Liverpool coasted to an eighth successive Premiership win with a 2-0
win over 10-man Newcastle United.
Owen, who scored 158 goals in 297
senior appearances during eight years at the Merseyside club, was given a warm
reception by Liverpool supporters before the game as he made his first
appearance at the Reds' home since leaving for Real Madrid in August 2004.
Michael Owen, second right, in action during their English Premier League
soccer match against Liverpool at Anfield, Liverpool, England Monday Dec.
26, 2005. [AP]
But the England striker endured a miserable afternoon after first-half goals
from international team-mates Steven Gerrard and Crouch ensured Liverpool put
their disappointment at losing to Sao Paulo in the final of the Fifa Club World
Championship behind them.
Newcastle finished a man down after Lee Bowyer was sent-off for a dreadful
65th minute lunge on Xabi Alonso, the fourth time the former England midfielder
has been red-carded in a year and the second time in as many seasons at Anfield.
Liverpool, who remained third in the Premiership table, have now taken a
maximum 24 points from eight league games since losing to Fulham on October 22.
Even more impressive is the defensive record of the European champions who
have now gone 12 hours without conceding in English football's top-flight.
Newcastle can few complaints about their first defeat in four games.
Manager Graeme Souness, the former Liverpool player and manager, had
criticised the heavily congested festive fixture schedule before the game and he
opted to make five changes for the first of four matches in eight days.
Robbie Elliott, Nolberto Solano, Titus Bramble and Shola Ameobi, who all
started the 4-2 win over West Ham United nine days earlier, were rested while
Scott Parker was suspended allowing Bowyer to make his first league start for
more than a month.
There was also a rare start Alberto Luque, a 9.5 million pounds pre-season
move from Deportivo Le Coruna.
But Souness's decision to make so many changes back-fired as a sharp
Liverpool side set about dismantling their opponents.