NEWCASTLE, England (AP) _ Ruud Gullit's debut as coach of Newcastle wasn't much of a success.

Liverpool, behind three goals in 15 minutes by 18-year-old Michael Owen _ including two in 85 seconds early in the game _ drubbed Newcastle 4-1 Sunday in England's Premier League.

The victory moved Liverpool into first place with seven points, the same as Aston Villa but superior on goal difference. Nottingham Forest is third with six points.

Gullit, the Dutch soccer great who was named in a surprising announcement Thursday to replace Kenny Dalglish, jotted notes and watched the match impassively from the grandstand in the first half. He moved to the bench for the second half as Newcastle looked more poised, although Liverpool didn't press its advantage.

Liverpool sliced up Newcastle's defense, attacking relentlessly in the first half hour with Owen scoring almost at will.

``At least we played on their half and created some chances, but still not enough,'' Gullit said of the second half. ``But at least it's a start.

``I knew that it was going to be like this, but I just wanted to see it with my own eyes,'' he added. ``It will take some time to do something about it.''