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Thompson Never Let Ireland International Forget Anfield Humiliation

Thompson Never Let Ireland International Forget Anfield Humiliation
By PJ Browne

Clinton Morrison was the hero for Crystal Palace in their 2001 League Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool.

The then 21-year-old, who would make his senior debut for Ireland later that year, scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 win.

It was a game which saw Liverpool - and Michael Owen and Emile Heskey in particular - miss several golden chances. After the game, Morrison told reporters that if he had the chances presented to Owen, "I would have put at least two of them away".

Morrison's words were taken as a slight against Owen and they lit a fire under Liverpool who would destroy Palace 5-0 in the return leg and go on to beat Birmingham in the final.

"Oh my word, that was like a red rag to a bull!" Phil Thompson, assistant to then Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, told the Liverpool Echo.

"Michael was a real favourite of all the lads and you didn't need any motivation for the return leg, the boys were baying for blood and it was just...Honestly, if you'd have been a betting man before the game, you'd have had everything on it!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoE1Cjj_okM

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With Liverpool up 4-0 in the second leg, and 5-2 on aggregate, the ball fell to Morrison in front of goal but he swung and missed. It drew a loud jeer from the Anfield supporters.

"It was astonishing and when Clinton had that air-kick in front of the Kop...oh, the stick was merciless!" said Thompson.

"And of course working with him many years later on Soccer Saturday, I did remind him every now and then, I was never short of winding him up and it's become a big thing in his life, that miss.

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"Wherever he goes, it's not about what he did in his career, it's one of those things people remember."

Morrison told Talksport last year that his comments about Owen had been "twisted in the press". He also revealed a great put-down aimed at him by Gary McAllister.

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"I knew straight away that I probably gave their team-talk by doing the interview, I remember Steven Gerrard giving me stick, which is fair enough," said Morrison.

"Liverpool fans were battering me, too, and I got a chance right in front of the Kop and I’m thinking: ‘Please Clinton, you’ve been getting it all night…’

"The ball has dropped six yards out and I’ve done a complete air-kick, I’ve totally missed the ball.

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"And as I was walking back slowly, Gary McAllister taps me on the shoulder and says: ‘Don’t worry about it mate, Michael Owen would have scored that!’

"I just wanted the ground the swallow me up, I told the gaffer I wanted to come off!

Picture credit: Sportsfile

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See Also: Bohs' Ross Tierney Gives Ireland U21s Victory With First Touch

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