After The Match






UEFA Cup round 4 - leg 2                   Wednesday Feb 27                Kick-off: 20.05cet

Result: 2-0 (0-0)
Goals: Owen (66), Murphy (73)
LFC Team:

Carragher  Hyypia  Henchoz  Traore
  Diouf  Murphy  Gerrard  Riise
Owen  Heskey

Subs: Smicer (Traore 45), Hamann (Diouf 62), Biscan (Henchoz 76)
Not used: Arphexad, Cheyrou, Diao, Baros
Booked: Traore (5)
Sent off: None
Referee: A J L Nieto (Spain)
Attendance: 34,252


On target:
Off target:
Yellow cards:
Red cards:  


Houllier: Owen worthy of cup chance

By PA Sport Staff

Gerard Houllier reckons Michael Owen is fresh and ready for the Worthington Cup final after his priceless strike sent Liverpool into the last eight of the UEFA Cup.

Owen scored the crucial first goal in the 2-0 second-leg win over Auxerre, the first time in four months he has scored in back-to-back matches.

The England striker netted in Sunday's defeat at Birmingham, now has 18 for the season, has equalled Ian Rush's European club record of 20 goals - and, perhaps more importantly, kept Liverpool's season alive.

Houllier, who has constantly backed Owen to come out of his mid-season barren spell, rested the striker to the bench at Birmingham.

"He was rested there because I knew we would need his freshness for this European game and Sunday's final against Manchester United," revealed Houllier.

"I feel that has worked and you will now know that he will play in Cardiff too."

The Liverpool manager added: "When Michael scored his goal, it freed the whole side. It was always going to be hard for Auxerre after that."

Now Liverpool face Celtic in the quarter-finals aware that it was at Parkhead that Owen scored his first European goal when they sides last met in this competition.

Houllier said: "For Michael to break Ian's record, we knew we had to win this tie and get into the next round. I have no doubt that he will set a new record very soon.

"He has scored most of his goals in Europe away from home, maybe that's an omen."

On the Celtic encounter, the Frenchman added: "I'm not surprised that Celtic have got through, it is an exciting tie for both clubs.

"The fans are friends, they have the same passion for the game and this is a great match for both clubs. But we relish such games, we will certainly be giving our best."

Auxerre boss Guy Roux insisted: "We started the game well, looking very positive and played some good football and created several chances.

"We even started the second period the same way, it looked to me as if it would be us who would break the deadlock.

"But then we made our first real error in defence and Michael Owen was through to score.

"It was then going to be very difficult, 2-0 down at that point was very tough to recover from.

"The two legs were very similar, we played well at home too. But Liverpool have a very fine defence and it showed in both matches and was why we have failed to score."

Roux also forgave striker Djibril Cisse, who threw his shirt into the dug out after being substituted.

The Auxerre coach said: "His reaction shows how much he loves football and hates to lose."

Owen can't wait for Battle of Britain

LFC Official Website

Michael Owen has spoken of his satisfaction at Liverpool securing their place in the last eight of the UEFA Cup and revealed he can't wait for the 'Battle of Britain' clash with Celtic.

Owen equalled Ian Rush's European scoring record when he scored in the 2-0 Reds victory over Auxerre and he said afterwards: "It's satisfying to get into the next round.

"The second half performance was totally different from the first half performance. We ran out comfortable in the end. You can't ask for more than to win the game."

Owen and Jamie Carragher are Liverpool's only survivors from the last meeting with Celtic in 1997 and the Reds number ten is expecting another exciting clash.

"We hear that Celtic got through as well so that should be another memorable game," he adds.

"Me and Jamie Carragher both agree that it was mindblowing. When they came down here their fans didn't shut up all through the game. It was a great cup tie."

O'Neill happy to play Liverpool


Martin O'Neill is relishing a Uefa Cup quarter-final with Liverpool even though he believes Celtic will be underdogs.

The Hoops gave their fans a few anxious moments as they recorded a 5-4 aggregate win over Stuttgart despite going 2-0 ahead.

They will face Liverpool at Parkhead in two weeks' time and O'Neill is excited at the prospect.

O'Neill said: "We have played before (in 1997-98) - but to be in the quarter-final is the most important thing.

"Closer to the time I will give it plenty of thought. I suppose there will be all sorts of comparisons made. They are a talented side and we will give it our best shot.

"Michael Owen is a top class player and it will be nice to see Emile Heskey, who did wonderfully well for me at Leicester, again. I will concern myself with that closer to the time.

"It's a great tie for us and we will try and defend a wee bit better than we did in the last 10 minutes or so.

"Liverpool are a top-class side and I am surprised with the way they fell away in the league especially after being in a wonderful position early on.

"They are definitely coming back to form and they have quality players all over the field. We will be underdogs but we will give it everything."

He added: "I'm obviously delighted to be in the quarter-final of the Uefa Cup. I knew the game would be very difficult.

"We got off to a wonderful start. It was our intention to try and score a goal and I was delighted to get two.

"Over the two games we deserved to win, but I have to say that in the last 20 minutes Stuttgart showed why they are lying third in the Bundesliga."

Reds set up Battle of Britain

By James Dart -

Liverpool set up a mouthwatering UEFA Cup quarter-final with Celtic after second-half goals from Michael Owen and Danny Murphy secured a 2-0 win on the night over Auxerre, sending the Reds into the last eight 3-0 on aggregate.

Having been frustrated after a poor first period, Liverpool were indebted to a cool Owen finish on 67 minutes, before Murphy wrapped up the win when his speculative drive deceived French goalkeeper Fabien Cool just six minutes later.

Murphy had created the best chance of the opening half for Liverpool just before the break, when his astute cross picked out Emile Heskey, who headed tamely over the bar from 12 yards out.

But the half-time introduction of substitute Vladimir Smicer revitalised the home side and Owen eased their nerves with a record-equalling strike.

Murphy's delightful flick sprung the Auxerre offside trap to send Owen clear and the England striker made no mistake with just Cool to beat, keeping his head with a tidy finish. The goal brought Owen's European tally to 20, tying Ian Rush's club record.

And Liverpool nerves were eased further in the 73rd minute when Murphy's swerving shot from 30 yards embarrassed Cool as he turned the ball into his own net off his hip.

Relieved Liverpool fans were left to chant 'Bring on the Celtic' ahead of the quarter-final first leg, scheduled for Parkhead in a fortnight's time.


Thor Zakariassen