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The BBC's Alan Green
"It was a thoroughly deserved win"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 20:54 GMT 21:54 UK
Reds face European ignominy
cottee
Tony Cottee gave Leicester a vital first-half lead
Liverpool 0-2 Leicester

Liverpool's Champions League hopes suffered another huge blow on Wednesday, after a dismal home defeat against Leicester.

The victory left Martin O'Neil's side with the considerable honour of becoming the first club since Arsenal in 1975 to win three successive games at Anfield.


Match facts
2 mins: Tony Cottee opens the scoring
32 mins: Jamie Redknapp's free-kick comes close
48 mins: Phil Gilchrist adds a second
78 mins: Patrik Berger's shot hits the bar
Liverpool, on the other hand, will feel their season has collapsed, with Leeds moving into third place after their 3-1 victory over Watford.

Leicester, who already have their European ticket, made life mighty difficult for a Liverpool outfit who have yet to get their passport stamped for next season.

Former Everton star Tony Cottee's early goal gave the visitors a half-time lead and Phil Gilchrist condemned Liverpool to defeat seconds after the break.


Owen
Michael Owen proved ineffective
Liverpool had skipper Jamie Redknapp available for his first game since November, with Robbie Fowler on the bench for the third game on the trot.

Leicester, severely weakened, had a back three that included Gilchrist and Frank Sinclair with a five-man midfield.

But any thought that Martin O'Neill's side would be a pushover was dispelled inside two minutes.

His battalion of midfield scrappers were straight at Liverpool's throats and it was Neil Lennon's neat chip into the box, catching Stephane Henchoz flat-footed, that was accepted by Cottee.



This is the second game on the trot that we have failed to get the points needed to clinch a place in Europe, and we are going through a bad phase at just the wrong time.

Gerard Houllier
Leicester's top scorer, who inflicted considerable damage on Liverpool in his Everton days, chested the ball down and scampered into the box to drill his shot wide of Sander Westerveld's left hand.

Emile Heskey, playing against his old club and more particularly the intimidating frame of Matt Elliott, struggled for time and space, while Michael Owen did not appreciate the attentions of Sinclair.

Cottee got himself booked for charging down a Westerveld clearance and Patrik Berger was next in the book for his second bout of dissent, a trait that was running right through Liverpool's side.

Leicester charge continues

Neither side made any changes at the break and it was Leicester who again came out the hungrier.


redknapp
Leicester battled superbly in midfield
Another poor piece of defending from Liverpool saw the visitors move 2-0 ahead, thanks to a Gilchirst header on the line.

The Anfield crowd were clearly shocked, but it was exactly what Leicester deserved, after Carragher had headed the ball up and over the outstretched arms of Westerveld.

Seconds later Berger hit a blistering 30-yard drive, in an attempt to add some spice to a dour Liverpool effort, only to be denied by the crossbar.



We played very, very well. At some stage people surely are going to start accepting that we can play a bit.

Martin O'Neill
Houllier then made a much-needed change, bringing Robbie Fowler on for Hamann and he almost made an immediate impact, forcing a fine save from Arphexad.

At last Liverpool began to press forward.

Fowler, Berger and Heskey all came close, but with so many blue shirts in the penalty area, Leicester somehow kept the ball out.

It frustrated the home side - and silenced the Kop - and Liverpool struggled to gain any shape.

When the final whistle blew, Leicester claimed a deserved win. Liverpool, in contrast, looked to have run out of ideas.

Teams:

Liverpool: Westerveld, Matteo, Hyypia, Henchoz, Carragher, Berger, Hamann, Redknapp, Thompson, Owen, Heskey. Subs: Song, Fowler, Friedel, Camara, Murphy.

Leicester: Arphexad, Guppy, Sinclair, Elliott, Gilchrist, Impey, Izzet, Lennon, Savage, Eadie, Cottee. Subs: Flowers, Walsh, Marshall, Oakes, Zagorakis.

Referee: G Poll (Tring)

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See also:

03 May 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Leeds edge towards Europe
03 May 00 | Champions League
Anelka sparks Real celebrations
03 May 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Redknapp returns for Reds
29 Apr 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Weah gives Liverpool the Blues
Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.