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Owen seals Liverpool win

Liverpool made hard work of their win against Vitesse Arnhem in the first leg of their third round Uefa Cup tie.

Michael Owen put the visitors into the lead at the closed roof Gelredome stadium midway through the first half and Liverpool should then have eased to victory.

But several missed chances from the Merseysiders gave Arnhem confidence and Kalle Sone should have equalised but he shot wide in front of a gaping open goal late on.

The game had got off to a steady but unspectacular start as both teams failed to establish any authority.

Bruno Cheyrou went off injured early on

Liverpool suffered an early setback when midfielder Bruno Cheyrou had to be stretchered off after seven minutes and that signalled the introduction of Vladimir Smicer.

Smicer quickly had an impact as helped create the winner when he quickly closed down Purrel Frankel with the loose ball falling to Owen.

Owen spread the ball wide to Steven Gerrard on Liverpool's right and he found Milan Baros with a low first-time cross.

Baros moved into the Arnhem box before sliding a square ball into Owen's path and he took the ball in his stride and slotted in from 10 yards.

Almost immediately, Danny Murphy side-footed a shot over before heading an effort onto the roof of the net.

Arnhem may have been the home side but they took 43 minutes to mount a threat on the visitors' goal.

Rachmed Mustapha found himself unmarked as he ran onto Sergei Levchenko's cross only to end up harmlessly putting an effort across the Liverpool six-yard box.

Owen had the chance to add a second when he was played through by Murphy after 58 minutes.

The England striker chose to shoot from a tight angle instead of crossing to either Baros or Gerrard and his effort was saved.

At the other end, Arnhem striker Emile Mbamba took advantage of a slip by defender Sami Hyypia before wrong-footing Stephane Henchoz only to shoot disappointingly wide.

Henchoz, back after a 10-game absence, crucially intercepted an Arnhem cross as the home team exerted some pressure on the opposition goal.

Owen then spurned two glorious chances with only keeper Dragoslav Jevric to beat as Liverpool failed to kill off the Dutch team.

Gert Claessens almost punished them but headed a Mustapha cross high before Smicer was the next Liverpool player to be denied in a one-on-one situation with Jevric.

Mustapha then hit the post and Sone should have scored but shot wide of an open goal.

Copyright - BBC

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