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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 September, 2003, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Owen brace sinks Blackburn
Michael Owen scores from the spot for Liverpool against Blackburn

Blackburn 1-3 Liverpool

England striker Michael Owen scored twice and Harry Kewell added another to hand Liverpool victory over ten-man Blackburn in a thrilling game at Ewood Park.

Matt Jansen had put Blackburn ahead with a stunning finish after eight minutes, but Owen levelled three minutes later from the spot after El-Hadji Diouf had been fouled.

Shortly after Blackburn were reduced to 10 men after a horror tackle from Lucas Neill on Jamie Carragher that forced Carragher off injured.

Owen and Kewell won it for Liverpool in the second half after a series of stunning saves from Brad Friedel had threatened to deny them.

Scotland captain Barry Ferguson was making his debut for Blackburn, and the midfielder had a frenzied introduction to the Premiership in an action-packed start to the game.

A harmless-looking tackle from Markus Babbel sent Milan Baros to the turf clutching his ankle in agony, and the Czech striker had to be replaced by Emile Heskey.

KEY MOMENTS
8 mins: Jansen puts Blackburn in front
11 mins: Owen scores from the penalty spot
13 mins: Neill is sent off
68 mins: Owen's second puts Liverpool ahead
90 mins: Kewell ends the scoring

The home side went ahead on six minutes. Andy Cole flicked on a long Vratislav Gresko pass and Jansen brilliantly turned Carragher before firing the ball past Jerzy Dudek in the Liverpool goal.

But their lead did not last long, as Gresko turned from hero to villain by bringing down Diouf in the area to give Liverpool a penalty.

Owen stepped up and confidently stroked the ball past Friedel into the bottom left-hand corner.

As the half wore on the visitors began to stamp their class on proceedings, and they should have led going into the break.

First Owen was brilliantly denied on a one-on-one with Friedel and then just a minute before the interval, Steven Gerrard saw a right-foot curler destined for the top corner sensationally tipped away by the American keeper.

Liverpool started the second period as they had ended the first, but Blackburn had the first opportunity to go in front when Garry Flitcroft shot just wide from the edge of the box.

Owen wasted another fine chance when put through by Diouf as the game swung from end-to-end and then Heskey blazed wide after another scintillating move.

It was a matter of time before Liverpool went ahead and Owen duly struck halfway through the period, slotting low past Friedel after good work from Smicer.

Kewell put the result beyond doubt in the last minute, his left-foot drive capping a fine display.


Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Amoruso, Babbel, Gresko, Emerton, Flitcroft (Tugay 70), Ferguson, Thompson (Yorke 64), Cole, Jansen (Baggio 64).
Subs Not Used: Johansson, Kelly.

Sent Off: Neill (13).

Booked: Amoruso, Baggio.

Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Biscan, Hyypia, Carragher (Riise 18), Diouf, Gerrard (Le Tallec 85), Smicer, Kewell, Owen, Baros (Heskey 5).
Subs Not Used: Traore, Luzi Bernardi.

Booked: Finnan, Smicer.

Attendance: 30,074.

Referee: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"This was a Lancashire hotpot in every sense"


Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier
"It was a sour victory as we lost two players"




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