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Alan Green reports for the BBC
"Most of Heskey's best work was outside the area"
 real 28k

Liverpool manger Gerard Houllier
"He did very well on his debut"
 real 28k

Saturday, 11 March, 2000, 17:03 GMT
Phillips steals Heskey spotlight
Patrik Berger
Patrik Berger slams home the Liverpool penalty
Liverpool 1-1 Sunderland

Kevin Phillips grabbed a point for out-of-form Sunderland and took the spotlight away from Liverpool's record signing Emile Heskey.

The 11m striker played a part in the opening goal but generally produced a quiet performance which looked more disappointing in light of Phillips' strike, his 25th of the season.

The result brings welcome relief for the visitors who had not won a league game since December, while Liverpool's Champions League chances look slender after dropping home points for the second time this year.

Heskey starts

Heskey replaced Titi Camara, despite the Guinean international having top scored for the Reds this season.

Berger and Heskey
Emile Heskey celebrates with Liverpool scorer Patrik Berger
Almost as if it was fated, Heskey won a penalty in the third minute, bundled over by Darren Williams inside the area.

Berger stepped up in the absence of Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler and slammed home the spot kick for his eighth goal of the season.

More good work from Heskey down the right set up Erik Meijer, his shot from 12 yards over the crossbar.

With Gerard Houllier opting for his record signing alongside Meijer, the Anfield men adopted a more direct approach, not dissimilar to the way Sunderland have played for the majority of the campaign.

After a lull during the middle of the half, the Anfield outfit picked up the pace, with Sami Hyypia and Dietmar Hamann both putting efforts just wide of Thomas Sorensen's goal.

And the German international forced the first save of the match from the Sunderland keeper with a dipping volley which needed to be tipped over the crossvbar.

Neglible threat

The visitors, who had been a neglible attacking force during the first half, nearly grabbed an equaliser with a cleverly worked move down their left involving Niall Quinn and Kevin Kilbane, the latter hitting a cross which evaded Sander Westerveld but not Stephane Henchoz, who cleared.

Meijer had the first chance of the second period, flicking a header from Dominic Matteo's cross goalward before Sorensen stretched out a hand.

Hyypia put a close range header wide before the Reds twice had the ball in the net, only to see the flag raisedfor offside, denying both Murphy and Meijer the second goal.

The visitors responded with an effort of their own, Phillips beating Rigobert Song to a header and forcing Westerveld to save at his near post.

Intense build-up

After a period of intense Reds' pressure, Sunderland forced their way back into the game with a penalty of their own, given when Phillips was clearly brought down by Westerveld after Song's error had let the Premiership top scorer in.

And it was the former Watford striker who thumped the spot kick home with the same authority as Berger had.

Liverpool never threatened after that, despite the introduction of Michael Owen and Camara.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Matteo, Hyypia, Henchoz, Song, Berger, Hamann, Carragher, Gerrard, Meijer, Heskey. Subs: Staunton, Owen, Friedel, Camara, Murphy.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Williams, Craddock, Holloway, Kilbane, Schwarz, Rae, Thirlwell, Phillips, Quinn. Subs: P. Butler, Summerbee, Marriott, Roy, Reddy.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)

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