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Benitez rules out move for Owen

Michael Owen
Speculation that Owen might return to Anfield has been quashed

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez ruled out a January move for Newcastle's Michael Owen after his side stuttered to a 0-0 draw against West Ham at Anfield.

The point put them top of the table but injured striker Fernando Torres was clearly missed as Liverpool misfired.

Yet Benitez dismissed reports he sees the 28-year-old former Reds striker as a solution to the goalscoring crisis.

Owen's Newcastle deal expires at the end of the season and he could leave in January for a cut-price transfer fee.

Benitez also said he is waiting for "more communication" with the club's owners regarding his own contract.

"George Gillett is here, but there is no news yet on the contract," he said.

"We are waiting for further communication, we do not have that yet. We will finish our conversations soon and start thinking about football."

Liverpool went into the West Ham match on Monday looking to pull three points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table, but they had to settle for a one-point lead after failing to break down West Ham's dogged defensive play with keeper Robert Green superb.

Clearly I can guarantee that we are not going for Michael Owen

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez
The hosts' best chances came from a series of headers from centre-back Sami Hyypia while 20m striker Robbie Keane, who has scored only two Premier League goals since his arrival from Tottenham in the summer, struggled to make any impact.

But Benitez claimed his team deserved more after Anfield endured its third goalless draw of the season.

"We clearly deserved to win," he said. "From the beginning to the end we tried to win and that's why they had one or two counter attacks in the second half.

"The team played much better than before and some players did too.

"People can be disappointed and we are too, but we are one point clear at the top.

"We didn't play well against Fulham but in this game we had plenty of possession, passed and moved the ball, and had chances.

"If you play badly, don't have chances and the other team is in control, you can be worried - but we were much better.

"The crowd can be disappointed because they've seen a draw at home but if they see the newspapers tomorrow they will see we are top."

Benitez replaced the misfiring Keane with David Ngog after 65 minutes and when asked if his team was lacking confidence in front of goal, the Spaniard admitted that could be the case.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty
"Maybe some players are, but it's just a case of us trying to keep creating chances - then I'm sure we'll start taking them," he said.

West Ham had been struggling for cohesion under new boss Gianfranco Zola but, after his team's goalless draw at Anfield, the Italian said he saw signs of real improvement.

"We were very solid, very good," said Zola. "We were playing against a tough team in difficult conditions, their performance was outstanding.

"When you keep a clean sheet it's not all down to the defenders. They are a team, they all work hard, that's why we got a point here, a deserved point.

"It looks like it's going to be a more balanced championship, which makes it even more interesting.

"I'm sure Liverpool are going to be up for it until the end. Today they were unlucky they were playing against a good team. It's going to be a close race."

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see also
Liverpool 0-0 West Ham
01 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Liverpool v West Ham as it happened
01 Dec 08 |  Premier League

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