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banner Saturday, 5 January, 2002, 16:52 GMT
Liverpool cruise through
Michael Owen scores Liverpool's second goal
Michael Owen scored Liverpool's first two goals
Liverpool 3-0 Birmingham
E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Liverpool began their defence of the FA Cup in style, overwhelming Birmingham at Anfield.

England striker Michael Owen was again the inspiration for the Reds, scoring two goals early in the first half.

But his forward partner Nicolas Anelka, who scored his first goal for Liverpool, was almost as impressive.

The pair started together for the first time and quickly struck up a formidable partnership that will worry Liverpool's Premiership rivals.

  Key incidents
17 mins: Owen puts Liverpool ahead with a curling 20-yard shot
25 mins: Owen scores his and Liverpool second following a break by Anelka
64 mins: Irrespressible Owen clatters the Birmingham crossbar
86 mins: Anelka scores his first Liverpool goal with a 20-yard effort

Birmingham were looking for revenge after being beaten on penalties by Liverpool in last season's Worthington Cup final.

But they never truly threatened their hosts. Dietmar Hamann and Steven Gerrard bossed the centre of midfield and Anelka and Owen were a constant threat in attack.

The Blues were overwhelmed and, of their players, only Andy Johnson and David Burrows gave a good account of themselves.

Indeed it was difficult to remember a meaningful shot on target that the Blues had.


Owen linked up well with Nicolas, and Nico thoroughly deserved the third goal.
Phil Thompson
Liverpool caretaker boss
Owen had already had a header cleared off the line by the time he scored Liverpool's opener.

In was another example of his priceless ability to score goals from nothing.

The England striker collected the ball 20 yards from goal and manufactured space for himself before curling the ball round Ian Bennett.

Just minutes later Anelka dispossessed Martin O'Connor on the halfway line and broke forward at pace.

He squared to Owen on the edge of the area and the England man fired low past Bennett from an acute angle.

Birmingham were giving away the few scraps of possession they had and Liverpool threatened more goals.


I felt we showed them too much respect - at least in the second half we made a cup tie of it
Steve Bruce
Birmingham manager
Anelka broke down the right channel and cut inside before thumping a 20-yard shot that Bennett could only parry.

The visitors started the second half promisingly but Liverpool soon resumed control.

Owen clattered the crossbar with a right-footed volley before Anelka added the third in the 86th minute.

He broke forward before shooting right-footed across Bennett from 20 yards.


Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Riise, Murphy, Hamann, Gerrard, Smicer (Berger 82), Owen (Heskey 77), Anelka.

Subs Not Used: Kirkland, Wright, Litmanen.

Birmingham: Bennett, Gill, Purse, Vickers, Burrows, Andrew Johnson, O'Connor (Hughes 80), Woodhouse (Marcelo 66), Bak, Mooney, Horsfield.

Subs Not Used: Eaden, Michael Johnson, Vaesen.

Booked: Woodhouse, Andrew Johnson, Bak.

Attendance: 40,875.

Referee: M Halsey (Welwyn Garden City).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Ian Dennis
"Two more goals from Michael Owen"
Liverpool assistant boss Phil Thompson
"It was an outsatnding performance"
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce
"We showed far too much respect to Liverpool"
Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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Links to more FA Cup stories

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