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BBC Sport's Ron Jones
reports from Anfield
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Liverpool's Gary McAllister
"It was hard work"
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Red's boss Gerard Houllier
"Football is a bit strange."
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Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier
"It's the best result"
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Saturday, 2 December, 2000, 17:03 GMT
Heskey finishes off Charlton
Heskey made the game safe with the second goal
Liverpool 3-0 Charlton

Emile Heskey enhanced his growing reputation with a fine headed goal and an all-action performance but Liverpool struggled to impose themselves despite the scoreline.

An early Mark Fish own goal seemed to do the opposite of galvanising Liverpool.

They appeared content to sit back for long periods, although Heskey typified his commitment in a running battle with Richard Rufus.

Liverpool finally asserted themselves with fine late headers by Heskey and Markus Babbel, both created by the quality of the crosses.

Liverpool brought back Sander Westerveld, Nick Barmby, Steven Gerrard and Heskey after they were rested for the 8-0 slaughter of Stoke in midweek

Charlton put on-loan striker Shaun Bartlett on the bench.

Push in the chest

The hosts were ahead after four minutes when Heskey won the ball back on the left and fed Christian Ziege.

The German charged into the box to fire a cross-shot from almost on the by-line.

Fish slid in to divert the ball past his own keeper Dean Kiely.

Heskey should have gone off. Both the incidents were red card offences and TV will no doubt prove that
  Alan Curbishley, Charlton manager
Heskey looked to have benefitted from the rest after a hectic schedule.

But he was lucky not to get himself sent off following two run-ins with Rufus in a matter of minutes.

First the players tangled in the Charlton area, and Heskey jumped up to push Rufus in the chest.

He was lectured by referee Rob Styles, who booked Heskey moments later when he pushed Rufus even harder.

The England striker again claimed the defender was hauling him back and Ziege had to drag Heskey away to prevent further trouble.

Rufus was also skating on thin ice soon as he crudely took away Robbie Fowler's legs.

Rufus had his hands full with Heskey
The striker almost exacted revenge on 25 minutes when he turned way out on the right before firing a dipping shot over the far angle.

Heskey flashed a header wide from a good position.

Jonatan Johansson sent a dipping 25-yarder just over the bar in a rare Charlton opportunity.

On the back foot

Chances were at a premium, but two Liverpool opportunities went begging just before the break.

Barmby's despairing lunge just failed to turn a long free-kick inside the post.

Heskey was denied by a flailing Rufus boot after Ziege's fine pass put him clear.

The visitors, without a league win at Anfield since 1954, came out after the break more determined to change that sequence.

They forced Liverpool on the back foot in the opening exchanges, but solid defending kept Charlton out of range.

I'm surprised that someone (Curbishley) who is going to work with the national team is having a go at a striker who was not protected enough
  Gerard Houllier, Liverpool manager
Liverpool were spending far too much time in their own half.

Barmby slipped when well placed, and Heskey narrowly failed to turn the ball inside the near post from a whipped cross by sub Vladimir Smicer on 70 minutes.

Mark Kinsella came closest to grabbing an equaliser soon after with a fine turn and shot from the edge of the area.

It went narrowly wide, with Westerveld flailing.

Addicks' new boy Bartlett, on as sub, forced Westerveld into a sprawling save.

But Liverpool went straight upfield to add a second.

Heskey jumped well between two defenders to send a six-yard header from Smicer's fine cross into the bottom corner on 78 minutes.

A third goal flattered Liverpool.

It arrived in the last minute as Smicer took a short corner to Gerrard whose fine cross was met by a thumping close-range header from Babbel.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Ziege, Hyypia, Henchoz, Babbel, Gerrard, Carragher, Fowler, Barmby, McAllister, Heskey.
Subs: Smicer, Murphy, Hamann, Arphexad, Wright.

Charlton Athletic: Kiely, Powell, Fish, Rufus, Johansson, Kinsella, Kishishev, Jensen, Stuart, Pringle, Salako.
Subs: Brown, Parker, Konchesky, Caig, Bartlett.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville).

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