Owen pledges his future to Liverpool

After a week of rumours, counter-rumours and utter madness, Micheal Owen has 'vowed' to sign a new contract at Liverpool. All this after it was suggested that Djbril Cisse (who has been a long time Liverpool target) was set to replace the hitman at Anfield.

Owen insists Liverpool can match his ambition and revealed initial talks are going well - adding that he will never play for another Premiership club.

He said: "After Steven Gerrard signed his new contract, it was inevitable all the attention would turn to me and my future. ""The stories which followed resulted from some comments which I gave to a magazine several months ago. Some of the words I never even said and the rest were taken completely out of context.

"They have led to a lot of false claims that I will walk out on Liverpool if we don't get into the Champions League. It has all got completely out of hand.

"I want every supporter to know that I am as committed to Liverpool as any player at the club. I have been the same ever since I first came to Anfield as an 11-year-old."

He added: "I believe my ambitions can be fulfilled at Liverpool. I find it a little insulting that, after 12 years' service, my loyalty is being questioned.

"I have signed five contracts with Liverpool and on each occasion they have been sorted out very quickly and satisfactorily.

"The comments which have been made about me this week have come from people who don't know the truth.

"I wouldn't normally comment on gossip and speculation but I felt I should put the record straight for all Liverpool fans.

"I am certain 99% of them understand the situation anyway. But, as usual, these stories have been fuelled by people that simply don't know the facts."

Owen said: "The initial talks were very positive and encouraging and they will continue next year.

"Of course I want to play in the Champions League, but I'm no different to anyone else at Liverpool. The whole club needs it because of the profile and money it generates.

"But I have never said I will leave if we don't quaify next season. I have never categorically stated I want to play abroad.

"A few years ago I said it was an option I might want to consider at some time in the future."

Liverpool doubters (like myself) should hang our heads in shame.

In other news, Rivaldo claims he has had talks and will be signing for Liverpool (for free) in January 2004. This, if it is true, will be a major surprise, as Liverpool Manager Gerard Houllier has previously turned down the opportunity to sign the 31-year-old Brazilian.

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