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Football: In the RED corner: You make Reds wait at your peril.

Byline: Ian Rush

LEE BOWYER paid the inevitable price over the weekend for keeping one of the world's biggest clubs waiting.

His reluctance to finalise a move to Anfield proved his undoing. Once a fee was agreed, I expected the deal to be concluded in a couple of days at the most.

The longer it dragged on the more suspicious I became of it ever being concluded. When Liverpool come in for you it should be a straightforward decision.

Very few players keep Liverpool waiting. The Reds proved with the Nicolas Anelka saga that they are not willing to be messed around.

As I said last week, Bowyer would have proved a great addition to the squad. He is a very talented midfielder who has an unerring eye for goal.

But if the player was not convinced of the move, then it is unlikely that he would have produced his best form had he become a Liverpool player.

For that reason Gerard Houllier was right to pull the plug.

He needs players with hunger, players with the desire to wear the red shirt with pride.

There are millions of fans all over the world who would give anything to do that. The least they expect from their heroes is that they feel the same when they take to the pitch on a Saturday afternoon.

Bowyer would have strengthened the squad. But having turned his back on the Leeds man, Houllier still has the financial clout to find a player elsewhere who can do likewise.

We will discover in the next few days if that man is Damien Duff.

The Republic of Ireland international would offer something different to Bowyer.

He is a wide player, the likes of which Liverpool do need.

He would not offer the same kind of goal return from midfield as Bowyer. But what he would give the side is a new dimension to their attacking play.

Michael Owen and Emile Heskey will be the biggest benefactors if Duff is signed.

He is a wide player in the mould of Ryan Giggs who showed during the World Cup that he is not over-awed by the big occasion.

Bowyer missed his chance. I doubt Duff will make the same mistake.

CAPTION(S):

CHANGING ROLES: Lee Bowyer and new target Damien Duff (above)
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 23, 2002
Words:384
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