|[01 APR 00] COVENTRY CITY MATCH REPORT - PREMIERSHIP
Coventry City (0) 0
Liverpool (2) 3
BY ADAM DENT
Coventry Citys hopes of stretching their
impressive home record were destroyed by a Liverpool performance which not only proved how
powerful Gerard Houliers side are becoming but also proved good news for England.
Michael Owen, free of his hamstring injury, scored two goals while Emile Heskey
likely to be his long-term international partner finally opened his account for the
But however impressive Houliers men were, Coventry were equally as poor. They
created precious little in front of goal, never had control of midfield and looked very
shaky at the back. If Steve Ogrizovic, making his 600th appearance, had not
made a couple of crucial saves it would have been far, far worse.
City manager Gordon Strachan recalled Paul Telfer after his international debut in
midweek after Tomas Gustafsson failed to recover from injury, but Robbie Keane was on the
bench after his knee injury.
All the attention was understandably lavished on Ogrizovic but after a pre-match
presentation he was brought down to earth early on. Coventry did start relatively brightly
but Ogrizovic was forced into an early save when Owen burst past Richard Shaw and the
impressive David Thompson fired on goal.
Liverpools passing was beginning to unpick Coventry and when Owen fired in his
first after 22 minutes it came as no great surprise. He was able to pick his way past both
Colin Hendry and Shaw before scoring.
If Strachan had hoped for a response he will have been disappointed. Noel Whelan limped
off with a thigh injury after half an hour to be replaced by Keane but even his arrival
made precious little difference.
What will have worried Strachan most was the failure of his side to really press
Liverpool. Against Everton and Bradford they refused to allow the opposition to settle on
the ball but the Merseysiders were given far too much time to play. They may be a powerful
side maturing well but Coventry made them look possibly better than they are.
If Coventry could have got to half time without conceding again it would have given
Strachan an opportunity to try and stop the rot. Owen denied him that opportunity.
With eight minutes to go before the break, Dominic Matteo crossed the ball into the
diminutive striker who was able to shimmy into enough space to power in a low shot from
That effectively ended the game. The visitors knew they had the match and the points
sewn up and hardly broke sweat in the second half they didnt need to.
Ogrizovic had to keep out shots from Thompson and Heskey, and denied Owen a hat-trick
with another fine stop.
There was nothing he could do, however, to deny Heskey his first goal following his
£11 million move from Leicester. Moustapha Hadji will have to shoulder some of the blame.
He conceded a stupid free kick allowing Patrik Berger to swing over a free kick which
Heskey headed in at the far post.
The Sky Blues should be safe from relegation after those two home wins last month but
hopes of a top half finish are fading fast and on this performance does not look deserved.
Ogrizovic; Telfer, Shaw, Hendry, Froggatt; Chippo, Eustace (Quinn, 67mins), McAllister,
Hadji; Whelan (Keane, 32mins), Roussel
Subs: Breen, Burrows, Kirkland
Westerveld; Carragher, Hypia, Henchoz (Song, 84 mins), Matteo; Thompson, Gerrard (Murphy,
70 mins), Hamann, Berger; Owen (Camara, 80 mins), Heskey
Subs: Meijer, Fiedel
GOALS: Owen (22, 37 mins), Heskey (78 mins)
REFEREE: Mike Reed (Birmingham)
Coventry - Whelan (27 mins, foul)
Liverpool - Hamann (49 mins, foul)
COVENTRY MAN OF THE MATCH: Steve Ogrizovic damage