defends misfiring Owen
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier defended Michael Owen
following another goalless outing for the England
Owen had several chances during an entertaining 2-2 draw
with Leeds at Elland Road.
But he again failed to find the net as Liverpool could
only pick up a point which keeps them in the hunt for
Champions League football next season, albeit still in
"It happens," remarked Houllier on Owen's glut of missed
"Ruud van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry both go through
the same thing, but at least Michael got himself in
positions to score.
"On another day he could have won the match ball, but as
far as I'm concerned there's nothing to worry about.
"When he doesn't score people have a go at him or at me
because he doesn't get the service.
"Today he got the service, it's just that he was
unlucky, but he can create goals and make goals and his
link-up play with the midfield is getting better and
"He also very rarely gives the ball away, so overall I
am pleased with his contribution because it's not just
about him scoring goals."
Football was the winner
Gerard Houllier declared himself proud of his
Liverpool players after they claimed a thrilling 2-2
draw at Leeds.
Liverpool took the lead with a goal from former Leeds
favourite Harry Kewell but trailed to goals from Eirik
Bakke and Mark Viduka before levelling the scores three
minutes before half-time through Milan Baros.
Coming under three days after their Uefa Cup win over
Levski Sofia, Houllier was delighted with the
performance, even if they almost lost it in the dying
seconds when Didier Domi's shot was cleared off the
Houllier said: "Maybe we had more chances and if it was
boxing, maybe we'd have won it on points.
"But football was the winner - it was a smashing,
thrilling game from the first minute to the end.
"We both wanted a third goal, it was extremely
entertaining and Leeds played well as well.
"I was proud of my players' performance, they can be
proud of each other - particularly with today's game
coming a bit more than 48 hours after we played in
Houllier was pleased with the contribution of Kewell,
adding: "He kept extremely focused and worked hard for
"We were all disappointed to go out of the FA Cup last
Sunday - but that's gone now."
Elland Road point
Leeds United remain rooted to the foot of the
Premiership table despite an entertaining 2-2 draw
against UEFA Champions League chasing Liverpool at
Harry Kewell opened the scoring against his former club
before The Whites struck back through Eirik Bakke and
Mark Viduka before Milan Baros equalised.
The visitors began in confident mood with Michael Owen
causing problems in the Leeds box early with Gary Kelly
deflecting his close-range effort just wide of the post
for a corner.
Kewell failed to test Paul Robinson from the resulting
corner, as his drilled effort sailed over the bar with
Baros forcing the England keeper into a save shortly
Both sides continued to push forward looking for the
opener with Alan Smith coming close at one end while
Owen skied his shot well over at the other when well
placed in the box.
Kewell, against his former club, inevitably opened the
scoring with a stunning strike from outside the box that
almost mirrored his midweek effort against Levski Sofia.
Leeds' reply was swift and not only did they find
themselves level they were soon ahead with Liverpool's
defence getting carved apart by Smith and co.
Firstly, Jermaine Pennant collected Smith's flick-on
before feeding Bakke in the box to stab home from close
range past the oncoming Chris Kirkland with his first of
Smith, at the heart of every move, then received
Robinson's goal kick before playing in Viduka who
chipped the ball over Kirkland from close range to cap a
The first half scoring was complete when Baros signalled
his return to form with a superb equaliser. The Czech
international skipped past Didier Domi and Seth Johnson
before drilling home.
Eddie Gray was forced into a half time substitution with
Stephen McPhail coming on for goalscorer Bakke who was
forced out with a slight thigh injury.
Smith was inches from getting his name on the scoresheet
after the break, but after skipping through the Reds
defence his drilled effort beat Kirkland and the far
It began to look like it was not going to be Owen's day
shortly after when Robinson somehow clawed away his
goal-bound header from point-blank range from a left
Steve Finnan had his heart in his mouth moments later,
however Kirkland read his poor back-pass well, clearing
under pressure with James Milner closing in.
Smith continued to cause problems for the visitors, but
he saw his first effort saved by Kirkland before he was
inches from scoring when his header from Milner's cross
cannoned off the bar to safety.
Dietmar Hamann, who had spent most of the match
protecting the visitors' defence, almost won the match
late on but his rasping long-range drive was superbly
tipped over by Robinson.
Despite the dropped two points from either side,
Liverpool close the gap on Charlton who lost to Arsenal
while Leeds are now unbeaten in three league encounters.