celebrate - but not for Owen.
Bowyer risked red card
Graeme Souness refused to defend midfielder Lee
Bowyer after the former England international was sent
off in Newcastle's 2-0 defeat at Liverpool.
Bowyer was sent off in the second half for a bad foul on
Xabi Alonso, and after referee Mark Halsey had calmed
down a melee of players, he sent off Bowyer and only
booked Liverpool's Peter Crouch who had shoved the
Newcastle man to the floor.
Souness said: "I am not ducking the issue because I have
not really seen everything that went on.
"But I am being told by others who have seen it that
there should have been more than one red card in that
"My only thought is that when you raise both your feet
off the ground these days in a tackle, then you are
"I think, especially away from home, when you lift your
feet and launch yourself at someone you are risking
everything. That's the game today. Especially away from
But although Souness declined to specifically name
Crouch, he was clearly concerned that other players in
the incident and melee that followed, escaped serious
He said: "I don't think that Bowyer was the only one who
should have had a red card.
"I am not referring to anyone, I did not see it clearly.
But some of the guys sitting near me on the touchline
who did see it felt that there should maybe have been
another seeing the red card.
"But that has not affected the outcome. I've not seen
it, I know people will say it was only a few yards away
but when you're looking at other things in the game it's
not always easy."
Owen, on his first game back at Anfield since his
departure to Real Madrid 18 months ago, and his summer
decision not to return to Merseyside, suffered some
booing from the Kop and did not get the expected ovation
from his former fans.
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard said: "I am
disappointed with that, he should be a legend here for
all the goals he has scored for Liverpool in the past.
"He got a mixed reception, which is disappointing. I do
not think they were booing him much but he deserves a
standing ovation for the goals he has scored."
Souness added: "I wasn't too aware of any crowd reaction
to Michael, but if you went out on the street you will
know that Liverpool supporters love Michael Owen."
On the game Souness added: "In the first half Liverpool
were magnificent and we were poor. They had outstanding
performances in the centre of midfield and they
"Our game plan didn't work and we were hoping, just
maybe, that they would have a reaction to all the
travelling they'd done to Japan and back. But it didn't
"We were over-run in the first half and 2-0 at half time
certainly didn't flatter them."
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez's view on the incident
was: "I was happy to see Xabi Alonso walking properly
after that tackle, I didn't really see it because I was
planning to change a player at the time.
"I didn't think what Crouch did was really important.
For me what is important is to stop dangerous tackles.
"I didn't take him off to protect him, it was just to
give him a rest. He is not the sort of player to get
involved in things.
"I have also seen the TV pictures of his goal, I think
it is his and not an own goal, he had the ball, tried to
score and it went in."
Shay Given tipped Crouch's header onto the post and the
ball rebounded only to hit the back of the Newcastle
keeper's head and trickle over the line.
satisfied with victory
By Steve Hunter - LFC Official Website
Rafael Benitez declared himself very satisfied with
the performance of Liverpool in their 2-0 win over
Newcastle and said the team is playing with a lot of
Benitez felt Liverpool should have scored more goals but
was happy with another clean sheet and a good
Benitez said: "I thought we played really well in the
first half and created a lot of chances and we didn't
give a chance to the opposition.
"I am happy with the performance of the team but we
should have scored more goals and their goalkeeper
played very well. I told the players at half-time to
finish the game off but we couldn't get the third goal.
"We have confidence and we are playing really well and
creating a lot of chances. In defence Sami, Carra, Steve
Finnan and John Arne Riise did a good job but we are
thinking always about winning and not about clean sheets
and records. If you keep a clean sheet then you always
have a chance for winning the game."
Reds make it magic eight
By Simon Yau - Sky Sports
Liverpool made it eight wins in a row in The
Premiership with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle, who ended
the match with ten men at Anfield following Lee Bowyer's
Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch ensured The Reds
suffered no ill-effects from their World Club
Championship trip to Japan, with goals in the 14th and
43rd minutes earning Liverpool their 250th win in The
Premiership, and also maintaining a run of eight clean
There was to be no fairytale return for England striker
Michael Owen, who has enjoyed great success in this
fixture in the past, but in the colours of The Reds.
Reds manager Rafael Benitez preferred the
Crouch-Fernando Morientes axis in attack and the duo's
blossoming partnership almost paid dividends in the
opening minutes when they combined to set up Harry
Kewell on the edge of the box. However, the Aussie
lashed his shot high over the bar.
The Newcastle defence gifted an opening moments later
when Celestine Babayaro's stray pass was pounced on by
Morientes. The Spaniard burst past Jean-Alain Boumsong
but saw his shot saved by the legs of Shay Given.
The Reds continued to dominate the early exchanges and
on six minutes Given produced a brilliant reaction save
to deny Kewell from close range. Spanish midfielder Xabi
Alonso dinked the ball into the box and Crouch's
knock-down found the unmarked Antipodean, but his volley
was palmed away instinctively by the Irish shot-stopper.
Newcastle's midfield found it difficult to get a
foothold in the match and it was significant that Amdy
Faye found himself hustled off the ball by Gerrard, and
then later hacking down the England stalwart.
Liverpool's early dominance was finally rewarded on 14
minutes through another typical barnstorming run from
captain Gerrard. The England powerhouse latched onto a
neat lay-off from Crouch to blast past the helpless
There had been early success for The Reds down the right
flank through Luis Garcia and Steve Finnan, but Peter
Ramage went to ground too early to let in Kewell on the
opposite wing on 21 minutes. Crouch though could not
apply the finishing touch to the move as his header was
cleared from the six-yard area.
Newcastle's forays into the Liverpool half were few and
far between but Ramage's raking ball beat the offside
trap and Albert Luque's cross was tantalisingly over the
head of Owen before John Arne Riise nodded over for the
Luque caused discomfort for Jose Reina momentarily with
his inswinging flag-kick before The Magpies were dealt a
further blow when Steven Taylor came off worst from an
aerial challenge with Morientes. Titus Bramble was
thrown on as his replacement midway through the first
period to mocking cheers from the Kop.
Babayaro, who only returned to the starting line-up
after injury, fouled Garcia on the edge of his own box.
And he was again thankful to his goalkeeper who palmed
away Gerrard's resultant free kick that was arrowing in
for the bottom corner.
The confidence that The Reds had gleaned from their
winning run in the league became more evident after
another flowing move. Gerrard produced another marauding
run down the left wing before picking out a free Garcia,
but he snatched at his shot.
There was brief retaliation once again from The Magpies
but it was only from a long-range effort from Charles
Liverpool rounded off the first half in fine style when
Given unluckily pushed a Crouch header onto the post but
the ball rebounded into the net off his back.
Newcastle's defence continued to miss the runners and
Garcia wasted a gilt-edged opening when he ballooned
over from close range after good work from Morientes.
Nolberto Solano was drafted on for the ineffective
N'Zogbia for the start of the second half. It would be
defensively that Solano would make his first
contribution as it was Liverpool who were on the
Morientes leapt well to meet Gerrard's corner, however
Solano blocked the header on the line with the aid of
his arm, but official Mark Halsey waved away the
The Magpies had more attacking intent in the second half
but it was symptomatic of their day when Boumsong
unwittingly deflected Shearer's goal-bound effort on 54
minutes. And Shearer was again frustrated moments later
when he whipped the ball into the box but his strike
partner Owen was nowhere near.
And things got worse for Newcastle when an opposing
player was sent off for the second successive game at
Anfield, (Chris Riggott from Middlesbrough the first)
when Bowyer was given a straight red for a late lunge on
Confrontations ensued following the tackle with Crouch
shoving over the former Leeds player and he promptly
received a yellow for his actions.
With the game beginning to peter out, Benitez opted for
several changes with French duo Florent Sinama-Pongolle
and Djibril Cisse coming on for Kewell and Crouch
respectively. And later Josemi would come on for Finnan.
Late on Gerrard found Cisse free on the edge of
Newcastle's penalty area but his shot was parried away
With the game stretched at the end Gerrard did not quite
have his shooting boots on as he blazed over initially
and then slashing wide.
There was even time in injury time for one last
Morientes header but the effort was easily handled by
The win keeps Liverpool in third place but 15 points
behind leaders Chelsea.