Football: Liverpool act out comedy of errors

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The Independent Online
Sheffield Wednesday. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Liverpool. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

GRAEME SOUNESS, the Liverpool manager, turned up for the post-match press conference in a lime-green suit, though what he said to his defenders was probably even more acid and colourful.

Two own goals and a third straight out of the Bruce Grobbelaar book of comedy gifted Wednesday their fourth consecutive victory. It was just as well. For all their excellent approach work and with Chris Waddle back at his best, they were almost as inept in front of goal as their opponents.

Trevor Francis, whose side has now gone 12 games without defeat, said: 'Nigel Jemson could have had a hat-trick and Ryan Jones should have scored a couple too.' But no matter. Liverpool's rickety rearguard did the job for them.

Neil Ruddock started the rot. He was penalised for a clumsy challenge and Chris Bart-Williams' free- kick found Nigel Worthington. The full-back skipped round Mark Wright, and Ruddock compounded his offence by turning the low cross into his own net.

Liverpool's reply was scripted by the Two Robbies. No one picked up Rob Jones when he ventured forward to meet Jan Molby's free-kick and he released Robbie Fowler to equalise with an angled drive.

With Waddle buzzing for Wednesday, the other old magician, John Barnes, produced a trick or two as well, hitting the bar with a superb volley and sending another inches over.

But high drama soon gave way to low comedy again. Waddle's cross seemed destined for the arms of Grobbelaar until Wright came sliding in to turn it past his own goalkeeper on the hour.

Graham Hyde almost joined the own-goal club when his back- header beat Kevin Pressman and came back off the post, but just when it seemed Wednesday could not score at either end unaided, enter Grobbelaar. He raced 40 yards off his line to try to intercept Mark Bright, but the striker chipped over his head and tapped it into the empty net.

As Souness said: 'Sheffield put us under a lot of pressure, but in the end it was down to our defending.'

Goals: Ruddock og (30) 1-0; Fowler (37) 1-1; Wright og (59) 2-1; Bright (80) 3-1;

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Pressman; Nilsson, Walker, Palmer, Worthington; Waddle, Hyde, Jones, Bart-Williams (Poric, 71); Bright, Jemson (Coleman, 79). Substitute not used: Key (gk).

Liverpool (4-4-2): Grobbelaar; Jones, Wright, Ruddock, Harkness; Nicol (Walters, 79), Matteo (Rush, 68), Molby, Barnes; Clough, Fowler. Substitute not used: James (gk).

Referee: I J Borrett (Ipswich).

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