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Monday 06 May 2013

On this day: Teenager Owen makes instant impact

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall 17-year-old Michael Owen scoring on his debut

  • Michael Owen, 17, slots the ball past Neil Sullivan to score on his Liverpool debut

  • The teenage striker watches the first of his 150 Premier League goals go in

  • His strike did not stop Liverpool's title hopes from fading, as Man United won the league

  • Jason Euelll (right) opened the scoring for the hosts

  • Dean Holdsworth's goal gave Wimbledon a 2-0 lead at Selhurst Park

  • Roy Evans' side did not have enough time to get a result to keep their title hopes alive

  • Owen earned his first start the following week against Sheffield Wednesday

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day: 6 May 1997 - Wimbledon 2-1 Liverpool

Liverpool’s 17-year-old sensation Michael Owen marked his Barclays Premier League debut with a goal, but the teenage striker’s impact wasn’t enough to prevent the club’s title hopes coming to an end as they lost 2-1 to Wimbledon at Selhurst Park.

The defeat meant that Liverpool fell four points behind league leaders Manchester United with one game remaining and, as fellow title rivals Newcastle United slipped with a goalless draw at West Ham United, the Red Devils were guaranteed their fourth Premier League title.

But Liverpool manager Roy Evans had a positive moment to savour when talented young striker Owen announced his arrival at the top level of English football with a superb low finish past Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan less than 20 minutes after coming on as a substitute for the Reds.

The visiting side had a mountain to climb by the time Owen came on in place of Patrik Berger, as Jason Euell and Dean Holdsworth had given the hosts a 2-0 lead after 55 minutes.

Owen’s cool finish gave Evans’ charges hope, but the late rally wasn’t enough. A win would have reduced Man Utd’s lead to one point, although they had a game in hand over the Merseyside club, but the defeat ended Liverpool’s title hopes altogether.

The instant impact made by Owen was a sign of things to come, though, as he was handed a first start in the season finale against Sheffield Wednesday.

In the 1997/98 campaign he was thrust straight in to the first team on a regular basis and played 36 of Liverpool’s 38 Premier League matches, scoring 18 goals in the process, and 23 times in all competitions.

His fine form earned him a place in England’s FIFA World Cup squad in 1998, and he took the competition by storm, scoring a memorable solo strike against Argentina in the knockout rounds.

The pacy striker went on to score 118 goals in eight hugely successful years as a professional at Liverpool. The Reds earned a top-four finish in all but two of the seasons Owen spent at the club, and he also won the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup during his time at Anfield.

Owen departed for Real Madrid in 2004, but he returned to English football with Newcastle United, scoring 26 Premier League goals in 71 appearances and linking up with former England teammate Alan Shearer in the process.

The forward then joined Man Utd in 2009 and won his first league title in the 2010/11 campaign. He then moved to Stoke City on a free transfer in September 2010 and scored his 150th Premier League goal against Swansea City. He announced his decision to retire at the end of the 2012/13 season.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember Michael Owen's goalscoring debut as Liverpool's title hopes ended with a 2-1 loss to Wimbledon