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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 22:44 GMT
Houllier blames star strikers
Michael Owen rues a miss against Crystal Palace on Wednesday
Owen rues another miss against Palace
Gerard Houllier said misses by Michael Owen and Emile Heskey cost Liverpool a place in the FA Cup fifth round.

Ten-man Crystal Palace won 2-0 at Anfield in Wednesday's fifth round replay, thanks to a Julian Gray strike and an own goal from Stephane Henchoz.

Heskey was guilty of the most amazing miss when he ran 70 yards on his own but still failed to beat Cedric Berthelin.

"Emile was one-on-one and mentally we sunk after that," said Houllier.

"It was a bad day for us. We should have finished it by half-time, we wasted so many chances.

"But you have to score those chances. If you don't you are always in danger of being caught on the break, which is what they did.

"Michael Owen missed chances, Emile did, so did lots of the players. We weren't dry of chances. We made an awful lot."

They were allowed to create chance after chance, but they kept missing and missing

Trevor Francis

Palace boss Trevor Francis joined his opposite number in criticising Heskey and Owen.

"You expect international players to finish better than they did," said Francis, a former England striker himself.

"To be honest, a win for us looked most unlikely at half-time. They were allowed to create chance after chance, but they kept missing and missing.

"But it certainly seemed unlikely at times, we could barely get into their half but it was Liverpool's inability to finish that allowed us to stay in the match.

"Sometimes I don't know how we survived."

Francis, whose team meet Leeds in the next round, said he had no complaints about Dougie Freedman's dismissal.

"I've spoken to the referee and he said it was an elbow. Dougie was fouled and retaliated."

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Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"After Emile's miss everyone was down"

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