Wednesday 17th March 2004 


Michael Owen’s failure to agree a new contract with Liverpool has nothing to do with his poor form, according to manager Gerard Houllier.

"I don't think he goes into a game thinking about it. I've asked him and it's not a problem," Houllier told the club's official website.

"I am sure he'd like to have it sorted out quickly, but it is down to him and Rick Parry to arrange a date."

Houllier added: "They know what we think about it. It is down to them to get down and talk about the contract in the coming weeks.

"But the reason he is downcast at the moment is not because of contracts but because he cares. It's as simple as that."

Following penalty misses against in the club’s FA Cup exit at Portsmouth and in Sunday's Premiership defeat against Southampton; Owen has, in his own opinion hit one of the lowest points of his career.

"The Portsmouth game was one of my lowest points ever," he said.

"The manager was under intense pressure and I missed that penalty when we lost.

"That day was as bad as I have ever felt. I was so low I wanted to wrap up the season there and then."

Owen will get a chance to redeem himself when Portsmouth travels to Anfield on Wednesday.

"I remember thinking 'I wish someone would just give us that fourth place and we could finish it all now'.

"There's nothing quite like taking a penalty in a match. In the week leading up to every game I take dozens and dozens of penalties in front of the gaffer.

"Before that Portsmouth game we had practised our penalties all the way through the week because it was an FA Cup replay which could have gone into a shoot-out.

"Let's just say I was on a high, I thought I couldn't miss a penalty that week.

"Then the game comes round and you miss your first out of 100. You think 'how's that happened?'"