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The BBC's Mike Ingham
"The margin of victory for Liverpool could have been greater"
 real 28k

Saturday, 5 February, 2000, 19:48 GMT
Leeds denied by Anfield thunderbolts

Dietmar Hamann smashes Liverpool into the lead


Liverpool 3-1 Leeds

Leeds' Premiership dreams suffered a huge setback at Anfield, as Liverpool saw their own outside title chances suddenly take on a more realistic note.


Match facts
19: Hamann scores with a deflected free-kick
62; Bowyer's equaliser sets up a frantic finish
69: Berger lifts the Kop with a stunning strike
90: Murphy's thunderbolt settles matter
Danny Murphy and Patrik Berger sealed victory to take the Reds to the verge of the Champions League places, alongside Arsenal on 44 points.

The Czech star and the England under-21 player struck sensational second-half goals after Leeds midfielder Lee Bowyer had cancelled out Dietmar Hamann's opener.

Leeds, who topped the table for so long, now trail leaders Manchester United by six points.
Liverpool looked the more likely team to score early in and in the 19th minute, a Hamann free-kick was deflected past visiting keeper Nigel Martyn by his own defender, Jonathan Woodgate.

The goal sprang Leeds in to life and Harry Kewell produced their first shot on goal after 25 minutes, a left-footed effort which curled just wide.


Jamie Carragher of Liverpool robs Harry Kewell
Minutes later, a break from midfield by Bowyer resulted in Sander Westerveld¿s first save, the Liverpool keeper beating out a volley from 12 yards.

Titi Camara put a header over the crossbar from a Hamann centre, but openings were generally scarce at both ends.

The Reds should have been two ahead by the end of the half, Steven Gerrard hitting a shot high and wide with the Leeds goal unprotected after a penalty area scramble involving Camara, Martyn and Erik Meijer.

Berger and Dominic Matteo shot wide either side of half-time as Liverpool continued to dominate.

But the Reds were made to pay for their sloppy finishing when they fell asleep at a free-kick. Jason Wilcox crossed from the left and Bowyer headed in at the far post.

Again though the hosts hit back and Meijer came agonisingly close to putting them back in front, when he volleyed a foot wide from the left edge of the penalty area.

Berger put the Reds back on top with an unstoppable left footed shot from fully 30 yards.

Kewell nearly equalised within a minute, sprinting clear of the Liverpool defence before hitting a shot across Westerveld, which the Dutchman palmed away.

But victory was secured in injury time when Murphy launched a rocketing long-range shot to score arguably the best of Liverpool's three excellent goals.

Teams:

Liverpool: Westerveld, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Matteo, Smicer, Hamann, Gerrard, Berger, Meijer, Camara.
Subs: Newby, Heggem, Nielsen, Murphy, Staunton.

Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Duberry, Woodgate, Harte, Bakke, McPhail, Bowyer, Wilcox, Smith, Kewell.
Subs: Bridges, Huckerby, Robinson, Mills, Jones.

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham)

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