Baros a spot of bother for Owen

Liverpool 2 West Brom 0: England's marksman misses a penalty while his new Anfield rival takes his chance

Dave Hadfield
Sunday 22 September 2002 00:00
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Second-half goals from Milan Baros and John Arne Riise earned Liverpool their victory, but not before Michael Owen had underlined his goalscoring drought by missing a penalty following the incident that saw Albion reduced to 10 men.

The barb aimed at Owen before the match was that he now only scores from penalties; yesterday he was not even capable of that as former Tranmere goalkeeper, Joe Murphy, denied him with his first touch in the Premiership.

Liverpool have some local credibility to win back after being firmly put in their place by Valencia in midweek. Owen, still without a goal from open play since last spring and only a substitute last week, was recalled to form a new partnership with the similarly promoted Milan Baros, with Emile Heskey dropping to the bench.

West Brom, with three wins in their last three games, have already acquired the look of a stumbling block for Premiership opposition. They brought in Scott Dobie to partner Jason Roberts up front at a ground where they had not won since 1967. There was also a quick return to Merseyside for Jason Koumas, the creative midfielder signed from Tranmere Rovers.

It was Bruno Cheyrou, floating just behind the front two, who demanded the first save from Russell Hoult in the Baggies goal. He followed up when Danny Murphy's original effort was blocked and saw his attempt kept out at the foot of the post.

Liverpool were dominating possession and Dietmar Hamann's through ball gave Owen a fleeting chance to kick-start his season. He hesitated and Larus Sigurdsson blocked.

Almost immediately, Steven Gerrard was through and Hoult had to be at his best to push his low shot around the post. He did even better to keep out a flashing low header from Murphy as it seemed that Liverpool's relentless pressure must produce a goal.

But the battling qualities that have made Albion one of the surprise success stories of the early weeks of the season were in evidence however, and they were always looking to counter attack usually through the pace of Roberts.

Albion's first chance fell to him after 17 minutes, a stunning volley from the edge of the area, equally brilliantly saved by Jerzy Tudek.

The complexion of the match changed after 33 minutes. Gerrard's through ball for Owen looked harmless enough, but Darren Moore misjudged the bounce and let the striker nip in behind him, Hoult rugby tackling Owen to keep him away from the ball.

The goalkeeper was sent off, Gary Megson immediately sent on a substitute in Joe Murphy and his first act was to save Owen's poorly taken penalty. There was still time in a frenetic first half for Liverpool to survive a penalty appeal when Sami Hyypia appeared to bring down Roberts.

Ten minutes into the second half, after Baros and Owen had both gone close, Baros showed his partner how to finish. Neil Clement lost the ball to Gerrard on the flank, and Gerrard floated it over to Baros' whose glancing header gave him his third goal in two Premiership starts. Owen should have followed him on to the score-sheet, but a thunderous strike from Murphy's cross hit the other Murphy and flew clear. Much of the urgency had gone out of the game but Liverpool threatened a second in normal time with long-range efforts from Riise and Murphy.

In injury time, Owen had the satisfaction of contributing to Liverpool's second, laying Murphy's cross back for Riise who scored with a low shot from the corner of the area.

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