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FOOTBALL: HOULLIER SET TO DITCH REAL DEAL McMANAMAN.

STEVE McManaman's Liverpool career appeared to be all but over last night.

The Spanish-bound midfielder (left) was axed by Gerard Houllier as Liverpool were beaten 3-2 at Derby.

McManaman, who moves to Real Madrid at the end of the season, was fit to play and Houllier said: "He was not injured, not ill. Steve will be in Spain next year and nothing he could have done would have helped our defence today. When you score two goals away from home you should get something out of it. We made mistakes, and we just have to put our hands up and say we are not good enough at the moment.

"It will be very difficult now for us to get into Europe - unless we have a wonderful run in our last 10 games, six of which are at home."

Liverpool also lost Michael Owen with a hamstring injury. The 19-year- old striker was replaced at half-time after suffering a hamstring twinge, but Houllier insisted it was just a precaution.

"I would prefer to be without him for one game than to risk him being out for six weeks," he added.

Everton had Don Hutchison sent off in their 2-0 defeat against Arsenal - ref Uriah Rennie also dismissed Gunner Emmnuel Petit for two late tackles on fellow Frenchman Olivier Dacourt.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 14, 1999
Words:218
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