Owen won’t say anything about Anfield move

Michael Owen has been asked his views on Steven Gerrard’s recent comments where the Liverpool captain said he’d love to see Owen back in a Liverpool shirt. Owen signed for Newcastle last summer for a fee in the region of £17million, after Liverpool refused to increase their bid of £12million. He then signed a lucrative four-year contract with the Geordies which means he’s got another three-and-a-half years to go. Unfortunately for Newcastle, the contract also includes clauses allowing Owen to leave early and Liverpool are looking to bring him home in the summer.

Liverpool’s lack of goals recently has not gone unnoticed, and Peter Crouch has been hearing some criticism by non-supporters because he’s not been knocking them in. Gerrard’s opinion was that and Owen-Crouch partnership would bring goals a plenty for Liverpool, with Crouch’s work leading to Owen goals. Owen wisely avoided answering the questions too directly though, using misdirection to try and avoid telling the press what was really on his mind. Owen said Stevie was just being nice: “It is nice of Steven to say what he thinks of me, but someone else makes those decisions. I am happy here, as I have always said. I made a decision last summer to come here and have loved every minute.”

Owen arrived in the summer in what was effectively a loan deal, with
some of the fee made up of the money still owed by Real Madrid for
Jonathon Woodgate. The striker from Hawarden in North Wales has rarely
played for Newcastle since his arrival, and is still not back to
fitness after breaking his foot. He still follows the Reds and knows
himself how much they are missing his goals right now. Stevie and Mike
were friends at the Liverpool Academy and have remained fairly close
since, so Owen said that’s why he said what he did: “Stevie has said
they need a striker, or that they need to score more goals. He’s a good
friend of mine, so I’d expect him to say ‘Michael Owen is a good
player’ because I would say the same about him.”

Owen is desperate to get playing again before the summer to regain his
fitness in time for the tournament that was the big reason for him
joining Newcastle. Real Madrid were likely to only use Owen rarely if
at all, without any football Owen was worried about what would happen
to his World Cup place. To play football this season was Michael’s main
reason for moving to Newcastle, something he’s not done this year. He
was doing happy with what football he did play before his collision
with England colleague Paul Robinson though: “Thankfully when I have
played, we have managed to get some points and I have managed to get
some goals. I’d be feeling pretty awful if that hadn’t been the case
and I’d played nine or 10 games and nothing had happened when I had
played. That’s the only softening of the blow. But the rest of it is
not. I’m disappointed that I haven’t played as much, but it will not be
long until I will be playing again.”

Owen won’t be fit in time for Liverpool’s visit to St James’ Park, but
wants to get back as soon as possible so he can say goodbye in style to
the fans: “Hopefully, it’s only a short period of time and I’ll be back
out there in the black and white.”

Before Liverpool prepare for the trip north they need to work hard in
this evening’s clash with Fulham. Fulham are expecting to see the
return of Paul Robinson’s other England victim this evening – the
on-loan defender Wayne Bridge has been declared fit after suffering
ankle ligament damage at Anfield playing for his country.  Goalkeeper
Antti Niemi is out injured for Fulham, meaning former Reds reserve
keeper Tony Warner should get a chance to play at Anfield.

For Liverpool there’s still no John Arne Riise (thigh) or longer term
absentees Momo Sissoko and Bolo Zenden. Xabi Alonso is out with a
suspension thanks to the strange and inaccurate psychic abilities of
Steve Bennett, who gave Xabi a red on Sunday for an incident he
couldn’t see. Bennett is still refusing to look again at the incident
or to offer an apology. Rafa Benítez recalls Daniel Agger to the squad
and may well use him tonight in place of Sami Hyypia who’s not fully
recovered from his recent hamstring problem.

Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Warnock, Traore, Agger,
Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Hamann, Kewell, Kromkamp, Fowler, Crouch,
Morientes, Cisse, Dudek.

Fulham: Warner, Volz, Knight, Goma, Bridge, Radzinski, Malbranque, Boa
Morte, McBride, Helguson, Crossley, Rosenior, Bocanegra, Elrich, John,
N Jensen, Pembridge.