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Liverpool (1) 2
Coventry City (0) 0

Gary Breen was fortunate to stay on the pitch as Coventry City tumbled to yet another away defeat this time at Anfield.

City have not won away from home for eight months and it is starting to become a mental hurdle which they show little sign of clearing.

After one defeat in the eleven games since Carlton Palmer arrived from Nottingham Forest, they travelled to Merseyside with great expectations despite being depleted by injuries to defenders.

They did well enough in the first half, but Noel Whelan missed an early scoring chance and then Michael Owen conjured an interval lead in stoppage time.

Coventry were less than pleased about the nature of the goal. Referee Andrew D’urso signalled two minutes of extra-time but Owen’s goal went in after four minutes.

But England’s big hope for the Euro 2000 and the World Cup Finals took his chance well. The ball was played into the penalty area by Dominic Matteo and Owen slipped away from Gary Breen to pull the trigger on Magnus Hedman from point blank range.

The goal came at the worst possible moment for Coventry. Their changing room was the quietest place in Anfield as they contemplated the mountain they had to climb in the second half.

Yet they could have taken an early lead when Gary McAllister’s looping centre found Noel Whelan in space, but the striker’s header missed the target from a good position.

Breen was lucky not to be red carded in the 16th minute when Owen crashed to the turf clutching his face. It was alleged the Republic of Ireland centreback had elbowed the Liverpool teenager in an off the ball incident and the home fans screamed for the red card.

But referee D’Urso consulted his assistant and to Breen’s relief, produced the yellow.

Liverpool tried to mount an onslaught in the second half, but City battled through it and then proceeded to show some of their best form of the match.

Carlton Palmer struck a deflected shot which goalkeeper Westerveld pushed wide and from the corner-kick Paul Telfer returned the ball to the far post where Palmer headed wide.

City’s best scoring chance of the second half came when Moustapha Hadji broke free down the left wing to fire in a deep cross. Whelan controlled the ball on his chest and then rifled in a shot that the goalkeeper parried away for a corner kick.

Coventry clearly were still in with a chance of salvaging a point and manager Gordon Strachan sent on the Belgian striker Cedric Roussel in place of Whelan.

But within a few minutes the game had slipped away. There seemed to be no danger in the 74th minute when Patrick Berger knocked the ball to Titi Camara 25 yards out.

Camara had his back to goal but he controlled the ball and swivelled to smash a perfect volley into the top corner of the net.

Strachan sent on the Norwegian Runar Normann for Hadji and City were unlucky not to pull one goal back in the 81st minute but Roussel’s tame shot from McAllister’s corner kick was easily cleared off the goal line by Liverpool’s defender Hyypia.

Coventry’s next chance to win some points now arrives on Boxing Day when fourth placed Arsenal are the visitors to Highfield Road.

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Westerveld, Garrard, Henchoz, Hyypia, Matteo, Thompson (Smicer, 37 mins, Murphy, 88 mins), Hamann, Carragher, Berger, Owen, Camara (Heggem, 86 mins)
Subs: Song, Nielsen

Hedman, Telfer, Breen, Williams, Froggatt, Chippo, McAllister, Palmer, Hadji (Normann, 75 mins), Keane, Whelan (Roussel, 70 mins)
Subs: Ogrizovic (goalkeeper), Eustace, Gustafsson,

GOALS: Owen 45 mins, Camara 74 mins

REFEREE: Andrew D’Urso (Billericay)

Coventry – Keane (foul, 16 mins), Breen (foul, 17 mins)



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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM