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BBC Sport's John Murray
"Liverpool were poor in the early stages"
 real 14k

Liverpool coach, Gerard Houiller
"We've done the job"
 real 14k

Liverpool player, Emile Heskey
"We knew they would be difficult"
 real 14k

banner Thursday, 9 November, 2000, 18:54 GMT
Owen goal seals Reds comeback
Nick Barmby
Barmby leaps for joy following his goal
Uefa Cup second round, second leg

Slovan Liberec 2-3 Liverpool (Agg 2-4)

Michael Owen scored on his comeback to send Liverpool into the third round of the Uefa Cup after the Premiership side were given an early scare by their Czech opponents.

Jiri Stajner gave Liberec the lead after 10 minutes - levelling the tie - with a header, but Liverpool midfielder Nicky Barmby secured the vital away goal with another headed strike.

Emile Heskey extended the Reds advantage in the second half before substitute Owen came on for his cameo.

Liberec sub David Breda added a late goal but by then Liverpool were already safely through.

Newcomers

Liverpool were far from impressive in their first leg clash against the the Czechs.

A slender one-goal advantage, courtesy of Emile Heskey, was far from ideal preparation and it was inevitable that the outsiders, with the advantage of home support, would test Liverpool's resolve.

Within four minutes of the kick-off Argentine striker Lazzaro Liuni, who showed some neat touches in the first leg, latched on to a pass from midfield and struck a low shot fractionally wide of Sander Westerveld's right-hand post.

Liverpool, who must have thought the Czech side were there for the taking, were made to think again moments later, when the European newcomers levelled the tie.

Crucial

An aggressive run and cross from Roman Jun found the predatory Stajner who glanced his header away from the grasp of Westerveld to send the Liberec supporters into a frenzy.

Sami Hyppia and Jiri Stajner
Hyppia (r) attempts to challenge Liberec striker Stajner

The writing seemed to be on the wall for Gerard Houllier's side who seemed unable to string two passes together.

The French manager, who left Nicky Barmby out of the starting 11 in the first game, this time decided to start with the lively midfielder after he impressed as a substitute two weeks ago.

And it was Barmby who brought the former European giants back into the game when he nodded in pinpoint free-kick from German Christian Ziege to give his side the crucial goal.

Confidence was restored and Liverpool slowly began to make in-roads into what was a fragile Liberec defence.

The Anfield team began the second half as well as they ended the first as in-form Heskey smashed a vicious shot from just outside the penalty area which brought a fantastic tip-over save from Liberec 'keeper Zbynek Hauzr.

First touch

The arrival of Gary McCallister for out-of-sorts Robbie Fowler added some cohesion to the visitors in the middle of the park as the former Scotland international became the catalyst for subsequent red invasions.

However he played no involvement in Liverpool's second goal.

Smicer played a low ball into the 18-yard box after breaking down the right, and it was hot-shot Heskey who flicked a powerful effort which Liberec 'keeper Hauzr only managed to palm into his own net.

Owen's return after a five-match absence was met with a warm round of applause from all in the stadium. But he silenced the home support with his first touch as he struck a looping shot after a trademark turn to add to Liverpool's advantage.

Moments later Liberec substitute Breda performed the same trick by scoring a spectacular goal with virtually his first touch, but it was too little too late from a team who can hold their heads high following their first venture into Europe.

Teams:

Liberec: Hauzr, Capek, Michalik, Lexa, Stajner, Liuni, Jun, Johana, Janu, Neumann, Pilny. Subs: Barta, Breda, Bakes, Kozuch, Zabojnik, Vidlicka, Nezmar.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Carragher, Babbel, Hyypia, Ziege, Smicer, Hamann, Gerrard, Barmby, Heskey, Fowler. Subs: Arphexad, Song, Henchoz, Owen, Murphy, McAllister, Traore.

Referee: Edgar Steinborn (Germany)

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