After The Match 


LIVERPOOL-NEWCASTLE 1-1 (0-1)        Sat May 15            Premier League
Goals: Owen (67)       Ameobi (25)
Team: Dudek , Finnan , Carragher , Hyypia , Riise , Murphy , Hamann, Gerrard , Kewell , Heskey , Owen
Not used: Henchoz , Baros , Pongolle , Cheyrou , Harrison
Yellow: Kewell (67)        Ambrose (67)
Red: None
Referee: Mike Riley
Attendance: 44.172

                                                              FIXTURES & RESULTS
Shots on target: 4-5
Shots off target: 4-1
Fouls conceded: 11-17
Corners: 8-1
Yellow: 1-1





"I know this team
can make progress."

                  Gerard Houllier

1505: Houllier happy with point
1505: Owen strike seals final day point


MAY 15
Houllier happy with point

Sky Sports

Gerard Houllier felt Newcastle deserved their draw which secured a place in the Uefa Cup for The Magpies at Anfield.

The Magpies were forced to hang on for a draw after Michael Owen cancelled out Shola Ameobi's first half opener.

Houllier was pleased with the effort of his players for fighting hard in the second half even though they had already booked a place in the UEFA Champions League, but was sad Emile Heskey did not net on what could prove to be his final game for the club.

"The first half they looked better than us," said Houllier. "They did not have a lot of chances, but created one good one and scored a good goal.

"We needed to improve our passing and movement, which we did. And we looked more lively and penetrating. On view of the second half performance the draw was deserved.

"They wanted to win and were working hard and then seemed to settle for a draw when learning of the score at Aston Villa.

"They did not have a lot of chances, but credit to Jimmy Carragher he kept us in the game with a wonderful clearance (from Darren Ambrose).

"I am just sorry for Emile that he did not score today. I wish he would have scored on what could be his last game for us."

It appeared Houllier was pleased Sir Bobby Robson was able to salvage something from the season as he had words of sympathy for his opposite number.

"The strength of your team is dependent on your top players and when you have too many top players missing, you can get away with it for one or two games but not for long periods," said Houllier.

"I feel the fifth place was probably deserved by Newcastle who have been around us for some time."

Houllier believes his team can improve, but is looking to bring in new faces.

"We will sit down and talk because there are some areas we need to work on," he added.

"I know this team can make progress. They have already won medals and have finished close behind some great teams, but we will keep going.

"We have maybe raised the expectation too early, but they showed today how proud we can be of them."

MAY 15
Owen strike seals final day point

By Chris Smith - LFC Official Website

A magnificent second-half goal from Michael Owen secured a point for the Reds in their final game of the season against Newcastle at Anfield.

After securing the coveted fourth spot on Wednesday, Owen's 68th minute strike ensured Liverpool's campaign would end on a relative high, after Shola Ameobi had given the visitors an unexpected first-half lead.

Gerard Houllier named an unchanged team from last week's 3-0 demolition of Birmingham City, hoping to end the season on a continued high after the final Champions League place was conceded in midweek when today's visitors failed to beat Southampton.

The big news was a place on the bench for 19-year old goalkeeper Paul Harrison, who lost his father and uncle 15-years ago at the Hillsborough disaster. Stephane Henchoz also returned to the bench after injury. Newcastle, who needed to better Aston Villa's result in order to secure UEFA Cup football next season, made two changes from Wednesday, with Andrew Griffin and Andy O'Brien replacing Steve Caldwell and Olivier Bernard.

The game kicked off amid an intense Anfield atmosphere. "Champions League we're having a laugh," chanted a rowdy Kop that had displayed a mosaic celebrating the great history of the original stand, ten years after it was knocked down. "YNWA The Kop," it read.

The team started in an equally confident mood, after three straight wins, with some nice interchanging passing in midfield. A superb move involving Gerrard and Murphy set up Didi Hamann for the first shot in anger, on 17 minutes. The former Newcastle man stung the palms of Shay Given with a well-struck 25-yard effort.

An exquisite flick from Murphy, set up Emile Heskey on 24 minutes but the Reds number 8 scuffed a difficult chance on the volley. It was all Liverpool at this stage.

A minute later, though, Shola Ameobi gave Newcastle a shock lead. The England U21 international found himself free on goal after a slip by Sami Hyypia, and drove an unerring shot past Jerzy Dudek to send the travelling Toon Army into a state of delirium. Their UEFA Cup dreams remained intact.

The Geordies were forced into a change five minutes before the break, as goalscorer, Ameobi was replaced by Welsh speed demon Craig Bellamy. The Reds stayed in the ascendancy but their probing had failed to impregnate a usually porous Newcastle defence as the half-time whistle blew.

Less than two minutes into the second-half, some outstanding work from Gerrard presented Heskey with a glorious chance to level the scores. However, as in the first-half, the striker made minimal contact with the ball after a wild right-footed swing.

Gerrard continued to force the attacking momentum as a fine one-two with a quiet Harry Kewell gave the skipper a chance of his own. He poked the ball wide as it arrived very quickly at his feet.

Jamie Carragher cleared off the line for the Reds, to keep them in the game, on 55 minutes. Shearer's downward header travelled across the goal-line and the Bootle-born defender was there to save the day from deny Darren Ambrose a certain goal.

As the Reds pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Newcastle set about exploiting the gaps. A dangerous cross from Owen was followed immediately by a similar centre from Bellamy as both sides realised that the next goal would be the most telling of the encounter.

Harry Kewell was booked for diving on 63 minutes as a mini-melee broke out, before the outstanding Gerrard drove a shot straight at Shay Given from a tight angle.

Gerrard again made the difference, crafting a magnificent Liverpool equaliser for Michael Owen. Standing just inside the Newcastle half there appeared to be little threat, but a beautifully curled pass found the run of Owen, who slotted past Given with a delicate finishon 68 minutes.

It was Owen's 19th goal of the season, and as for the captain? There seem to be few superlatives left to describe his contribution to Liverpool's season. He was by far the star performer here again today.

Newcastle introduced Lauren Robert and Steven Caldwell in a bid to cling onto the result, knowing that defeat would see them miss out on European qualification next season. Robert's swerving drive almost caught Dudek out with five minutes to go, but the Reds eased home, while threatening to take all three points themselves.

This superb finish to the season gives Liverpool a great platform to build on in 2004/05, and with the acquisition of some world class talent and the continued application of the likes of Gerrard, who received a richly-deserved standing ovation when taking a corner late on, and Owen, they can surely pose a greater threat to the top three next season.

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Thor Zakariassen