|Wednesday 16th July 2003
RheinEnergie Stadium, Cologne, Germany
FC COLOGNE 1-3 LIVERPOOL
|After this game: Pos n/a Pl n/a Pts n/a|
|MATCH REPORT - FC Cologne 1-3 Liverpool|
Harry Kewell was little more than a spectator on his debut as Michael Owen grabbed two goals to underline just who is the main man still at Liverpool.
It was just 36 days since Owen's last match - his match-winning brace for England against Slovakia in June - and the Liverpool ace showed he was still in top form in the RheinEnergie Stadium as Liverpool confidently won their first pre-season friendly and he bagged a pair.
Kewell might have grabbed all the attention after his £5million move from Leeds, but Owen - with a new crew-cut and beard - was outstanding when he came on in the second half to cut down Cologne after Emile Heskey had scored the Reds' first.
Liverpool's starting line-up was very much the second string with Frenchman Gregory Vignal at full-back, Igor Biscan in the centre of defence and Markus Babbel - who fell out with Gerard Houllier last season and was told to find another club - playing at right-back.
And it was the much-maligned Heskey who started as if he had something to prove. The arrival of Kewell and the emergence of Milan Baros suggests Heskey will struggle for a first-team place this season but he struck with a peach of a goal after just eight minutes.
He had been fouled by Mustafa Dogan when running clear minutes earlier but gained his revenge by reacting quickest to a misplaced crossfield pass and snapping up possession before sidefooting a neat, clever shot from 25 yards inside Alexander Bade's left-hand post.
Cologne, who had won all of their previous seven pre-season games, were level on 13 minutes when Marius Ebbers was given far to much space in the penalty box by Biscan to sweep home a right-wing cross.
Vladimir Smicer hit the crossbar and Heskey missed when put in by a quick-thinking Baros as Liverpool battled to regain the lead.
Liverpool's second-half team saw 10 changes, only Biscan staying on as Kewell was introduced, surprisingly on the right of midfield with Danny Murphy on the left and Neil Mellor partnering Owen up front.
Chris Kirkland was in goal with Swiss defender Stephane Henchoz back in the side for the first time since calf injuries ruined the final third of last season for him.
Kewell looked a little lost on the right flank and his squandering of possession allowed Andrei Voronin to race away from Biscan before firing wide of the far post.
The Australian soon switched to the left, but it was Owen who instantly stamped his class on the proceedings on 59 minutes. He took a defence-splitting pass from Steven Gerrard, dummied inside a defender and coolly stroked the ball home off the far post.
Mellor should have scored soon after when he shot wide from close range after Gerrard and John Arne Riise had opened up Cologne.
Liverpool's passing and movement improved immeasurably in the second period and Owen added a third with two minutes to go when he punished a poor backpass by grabbing possession, rounding goalkeeper Stefan Wessels and rolling the ball home.
Cologne: Alexander Bade, Carsten Cullmann, Mustafa Dogan, Marius Ebbers, Dirk Lottner (c), Matthias Scherz, Serbastian Shchindzielorz Oliver Shroder, Moses Sichone, Christian Springer, Andrey Voronin,
Subs : Markus Dworrak, Giovanni Federico, Sebastian Helbig, Florian Kringe, Ewangelos Nessou, Alexander Voigt, Stefan Wessels
Liverpool: Markus Babbel, Milan
Baros, Igor Biscan, Salif Diao, El-Hadji Diouf, Jerzy Dudek, Dietmar
Hamann, Emile Heskey, Sami Hyypia (c), Vladimir Smicer, Gregory
Gerard Houllier I am very pleased with Harry
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|Match Report filed: 11th May 2003|