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Friday, 21 April, 2000, 21:41 GMT 22:41 UK
Merseysiders share spoils
Emile Heskey and Mark Pembridge
Emile Heskey and Mark Pembridge tussle
Everton 0-0 Liverpool

A Merseyside derby draw could prove the perfect tonic for Manchester United.

Second place Liverpool failed to beat Everton and it now means their old rivals United would become Premiership champions if they beat Southampton on Saturday.

Everton thought they had won the 162nd derby in a bizarre incident in stoppage time.

Liverpool keeper Sander Westerveld took a free kick which rebounded off Everton's Don Hutchison, who was not 10 yards away, and bounced into the net.

Referee Graham Poll blew for full time while the ball was in the air and the goal did not stand despite protest from Everton fans and manager Walter Smith.

On balance a draw was probably a fair result.
owen and unsworth
Owen and Unsworth battle for possession

Form often matters for little in derby contests - and this match at Goodison Park was no exception.

There was a frenetic start with tackles flying in as both teams tried to get the upper hand.

And the fast pace of the game never faltered.

Everton keeper Paul Gerrard made two excellent first-half saves to stop Michael Owen opening his goal account.

Owen had the best early chance on 12 minutes when Patrik Berger's pass put him clear, but Gerrard made an excellent save to his right.

Everton were playing their way neatly through midfield, first time touches and clever running giving Liverpool plenty to worry about.

A 21st-minute Nick Barmby corner cleared a packed six-yard box, and was hooked wide from beyond the far post by Mark Hughes.

John Collins was busy pulling all the strings in Everton's midfield, but there was little end product in the box.

Blistering break

Liverpool had been pegged back, but one blistering break by Emile Heskey after 31 minutes almost broke the deadlock.

The ball went out to Thompson, whose cross was met by Owen with a hooked shot that Gerrard somehow clawed down. Heskey had a stab at the lose ball before Richard Dunne hacked it clear.

Heskey did not reappear for the second half after suffering from back spasms.

He was replaced by Robbie Fowler, playing his first Premiership football this millennium.

The second half started with a searing run from deep by Steven Gerrard, which ended with a close range effort that was beaten away by Paul Gerrard.

Unmarked

At the other end a David Unsworth free kick found Mark Hughes unmarked and the Welshman had more time than he thought to turn and shoot, his effort flashing over the top.

Both teams had upped their pace by now, and one flowing Liverpool move ended with an 18-yard drive from Owen that Gerrard just fingered wide.

Everton's veteran frontman Hughes went close on a number of occasions but the ball would not go in the net.

Berger almost snatched it at the death with a stinging shot and Everton thought they should have been the winners with the bizarre Westerweld episode.

All in all Everton put a dent in Liverpool's Champions League hopes and ensured that Manchester United can secure the championship if they win at Southampton.

Teams

Everton: Gerrard, Xavier, Weir, Dunne, Unsworth, Barmby, Collins, Pembridge, S. Hughes, M. Hughes, Hutchison. Subs: Ball, Jeffers, Jevons, Ward, Simonsen.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Matteo, Thompson, Hamann, Gerrard, Berger, Owen, Heskey. Subs: Smicer, Fowler, Heggem, Murphy, Nielsen.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)

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