Date: 16th March 2006 at 2:38pm
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Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard’s pleas for Michael Owen to ‘come home’ to Liverpool could just tip the balance this weekend as Newcastle put him … and his team-mates … back on the bus with a dint in their Champions League hopes.

Not only did Sven give Owen the sort of headlines he didn’t need by being caught on camera saying the player had doubts about his move to Tyneside, but do we need this c**p from Gerrard at this time? Newcastle paid £17million to Real Madrid for Owen last summer, money his former club admitted they couldn’t afford.

I’m sure the Newcastle players will want to stuff those words back down Gerrard’s throat. Particularly after the poor reception the Toon number 10 got on his return to Anfield earlier in the season. Scousers have short memories.

Michael Owen: ‘Stevie has said they need a striker, or that they need to score more goals. He’s a good friend of mine, so I’d expect him to say ‘Michael Owen’s a good player’ because I’d say the same about him. It’s nice of him to say what he thinks of me, but someone else makes those decisions.

‘I’m happy here, as I’ve always said. I made a decision last summer to come here and I’ve loved every minute since.

‘Thankfully when I have played, we have managed to get some points and I have managed to get some goals,’ he said. I would be feeling pretty awful if that had not been the case and I had played nine or 10 games and nothing had happened when I had played.

‘That is the only softening of the blow. But the rest of it is not. I am disappointed that I have not played as much, but not long now and I will be playing again. Hopefully, it is only a short period of time and I will be back out there in the black and white.

‘You see the light at the end of the tunnel, but every day seems a bit longer and I am sure that will be the case. I am so close, but I am not going to rush it and stay where we should be. We will hopefully keep it safe and sound and come back in good time, and that time will be when I am strong and fit enough, not before and not after.’