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Saturday, 2 November, 2002, 16:50 GMT
Owen sinks West Ham
Michael Owen scores his first goal against West Ham
Michael Owen has hit a rich vein of goalscoring form
Liverpool 2-0 West Ham

Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premiership to seven points as two Michael Owen goals swatted aside a tame West Ham challenge.

Owen's brace further cemented Liverpool's lead over second-placed Arsenal, who play at Fulham on Sunday.

Having been beaten by Valencia in midweek, Liverpool's return to domestic duties proved less onerous, and Gerard Houllier's side remain undefeated in the league.

  Key incidents
27 mins: Michael Owen's slick finish puts Liverpool ahead
55 mins: More opportunism from Owen extends Liverpool's lead

For a brief spell early in the second-half, West Ham, who have won three times on the road this season, threatened to make a game of it, but Owen's second goal effectively ended the London side's challenge.

Without the injured Paolo di Canio and Frederic Kanoute, West Ham boss Glenn Roeder opted to pack the West Ham midfield, hoping to catch Liverpool on the break.

It was a strategy that started to unravel as Owen began to slip the attentions of Ian Pearce and Tomas Repka.

Even before his first goal, Owen had spurned a couple of good chances, sending his shot past the post and then bringing out a good save from David James.


The display was outstanding at times - the level of energy they put in after the Valencia game stunned me really
Gerard Houllier
Liverpool manager
The England striker was finally rewarded for his industry in the 27th minute when he scored the opening goal - his 10th of the season.

There seemed little danger when he picked up Jamie Carragher's pass with plenty of West Ham defenders in attendance.

But Owen managed to leave three of them on the floor before delivering a clever shot into the corner.

It took West Ham 31 minutes to create their first opening.

Edouard Cisse challenges Emile Heskey
Liverpool have lost just once in 29 league games

Jermain Defoe made it to the byline before crossing into the path of Steve Lomas, only for the midfielder to send his header over.

Liverpool were soon on the attack again when Christian Dailly lost possession to Owen, who squared for Danny Murphy.

He in turn picked out Carragher, whose low shot ended up the wrong side of the post.

After the restart West Ham emerged a more confident side and Jerzy Dudek had to claw away a shot from Pearce and then the rebound from Lomas.

The Liverpool goalkeeper also showed good reflexes after a cross from Joe Cole caused confusion.


[Michael Owen] was a thorn in our sides all afternoon
Glenn Roeder
West Ham manager
But West Ham's revival was stymied by Owen's second - a mishit shot.

Sami Hyypia started the move releasing Vladimir Smicer, who clipped the ball through to Owen.

James raced off his line, but the Liverpool striker got away from him.

He then sliced his shot but it rolled into the net despite Dailly's desperate efforts to clear.


Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Traore, Hyypia, Riise, Murphy, Diao, Hamann, Smicer, Heskey, Owen.
Subs: Kirkland, Baros, Diouf, Gerrard, Cheyrou.

West Ham: James, Pearce, Repka, Dailly, Minto, Sinclair, Lomas, Carrick, Cisse, Cole, Defoe.
Subs: Van Der Gouw, Winterburn, Breen, Garcia, Camara.

Referee: E Wolstenholme (Lancashire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Nigel Adderley
"Michael Owen was terrific"
Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"We overcame the conditions well"
West Ham boss Glenn Roeder
"We caught Liverpool on a very good day"
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