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Sunday, 22 September, 2002, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Houllier, Hyypia defend Owen
Michael Owen
Owen missed a second penalty of the season
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier says Michael Owen's mental strength will see him overcome his poor form in front of goal.

England striker Owen has not scored in open play this season and missed his second penalty of the campaign against West Brom on Saturday.

Liverpool eventually beat the Baggies thanks to goals from Milan Baros and John Arne Riise, but Houllier believes it is just a matter of time before Owen starts firing again.

"The more important thing is that he is creating chances," said Houllier. "He played the ball to John Arne Riise for the second goal.

"Michael had a lot of shots on target and was unfortunate again not to score.

"That misfortune will be overcome by his mental strength."

Anfield defender Sami Hyypia also backed Owen to end his goal drought.

"Michael was very unlucky on Saturday," he said. "He missed the penalty and a couple of other chances and I really felt sorry for him.

"He's going through a period where the goals aren't going in at the moment, but he'll soon turn things around.

"Everyone in the squad will help him get through this spell."


He'd have got sent off in rugby league for that
WBA boss Gary Megson on Hoult's red card

West Brom went down to 10 men after 34 minutes after keeper Russell Hoult was red-carded for a foul on Owen.

But they held out against Liverpool until the 56th minute before conceding a second just before the final whistle.

Houllier added: "It's always difficult against 10, you find yourself facing two lines of defenders and they are difficult to breakdown.

"But we handled it well, with maturity, and we didn't panic as the goals didn't come as quickly as we would have liked."

Baggies boss Gary Megson had no complaints with Hoult's dismissal.

"It was a rugby tackle, and a high one at that," said Megson. "He'd have got sent off in rugby league for that."

But Megson was disappointed his side did not get a penalty of their own after Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia looked to have brought down striker Jason Roberts.

"We made a couple of chances, (Jerzy) Dudek made one marvellous save and we could well have had a penalty ourselves.

"On the TV re-run Sami Hyypia didn't get anywhere near the ball and the only argument was whether he brought down Jason Roberts. He felt that was the case."


 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"Owen's contribution to the game was good"
Liverpool legend Ian Rush
"Owen will become a better player"
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