Houllier warns Premiership rivals over Owen

Gerard Houllier has warned that Michael Owen is still not the complete player and that he would be terrorising opposition sides for many years to come.

“One hundred league goals is history,”

said Houllier, who warned there was much more to come from England’s number one striker.

“He is only 23 and his all-round game has improved a lot. He could overtake Ian Rush (Liverpool’s greatest-ever goalscorer who scored 346 times during his Anfield career). And I think he will reach his second hundred faster than his first.

“I said to the guys that Michael would have a tremendous end to the season and said next season he would be even better. He could be awesome.”

Houllier believes there are three reasons why Owen has returned to the form which rocketed him into the England team aged just 18.

The Liverpool boss revealed he had given the striker licence to roam and express himself on the pitch, but the efforts of the Anfield backroom staff in helping Owen become fitter and Owen’s own determination to improve were also paying dividends.

“I encourage him to take some initiative in the right areas. He knows he can do that because we can defend,” said Houllier.

“I would say the medical team have done a lot of work to improve his training all-round but Michael works hard at training.

“He is very focused. You only succeed in this game if you are 100% focused and he has worked on some of the areas of his game where he could improve – the use of his left foot and his heading.

“His linking play is good and in terms of quickness and pace he is back to his usual. But he is stronger and when the ball goes to him he rarely gives it away.

“There are some players who get to a certain level and then seem to drop and take it easy. The good thing about Michael is that he never looks like that. He is always trying to stretch himself in training to better achievements.”

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