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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 21:54 GMT
Liverpool 2-1 Man City
Liverpool striker Michael Owen
Michael Owen scored for the first time in over three months and had a helping hand in a Steven Gerrard goal as Liverpool beat Manchester City.

Owen gave Liverpool an early lead when he picked up Dietmar Hamann's pass, slipped away from Richard Dunne before beating David James with a near finish.

City's most impressive player Shaun Wright-Phillips equalised with a powerful shot early in the second half.

But within two minutes Gerrard finished off Owen's persistent play in the box.

City's team included former Liverpool old boys David James, Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler.

McManaman had a hand in Wright-Phillips' goal, but in general the City midfielder and Fowler flickered in and out of the game.

Their peripheral contributions were in sharp relief to Gerrard, who turned in another energetic performance for Liverpool, just as he had done against Bolton on Saturday.

Owen, who had missed some relatively easy chances against Bolton, did not take very long to get back in the goalscoring groove.

In the third minute referee Mike Riley played an excellent advantage to let the game continue after Daniel van Buyten fouled Bruno Cheyrou.

Riley's decision allowed Hamann to thread the ball through to Owen, who went past Dunne and neatly clipped the ball over the advancing James.

Having created the goal Hamann then tried his luck with a speculative shot.

City's travelling fans were less enamored with Riley's refereeing and they hurled abuse at him for what they felt were a string of debatable decisions given against their team.

KEY MOMENTS
3 mins: Owen fires Bolton ahead
49 mins: Wright-Phillips equalises
51 mins: Gerrard restores Liverpool's lead

But four minutes after the restart City equalised.

Michael Tarnat played McManaman into space in midfield and, with Fowler going on a decoy run to his left, the former Liverpool winger threaded the ball into Wright-Phillips' path. So impressive in recent weeks, the youngster lashed a low shot into the bottom corner.

Yet within two minutes Liverpool regained the lead.

The ball was lifted into City's box and Owen managed to make contact, with James parrying the effort only for Gerrard to lash the loose ball into the net from close range.

Liverpool's win ensured Gerrard Houllier's side went level on points with Newcastle and a point ahead of Charltonin the race for the fourth Champions League spot.


Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Le Tallec (Murphy 69), Gerrard, Hamann, Cheyrou (Biscan 85), Kewell (Heskey 59), Owen.
Subs Not Used: Kirkland, Sinama Pongolle.

Man City: James, Dunne, Van Buyten, Distin, Wright-Phillips, Reyna (Barton 68), Bosvelt, McManaman, Tarnat, Fowler, Macken (Sibierski 77).
Subs Not Used: Jihai, Arason, Elliott.

Attendance: 43,257.

Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"Liverpool were far from convincing"


Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"We're becoming a bit more efficient and clinical"



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