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BBC Sport's John Murray :
"Liverpool will be content to leave with a point"
 real 14k

Sunderland boss Peter Reid
"We matched them and I'm delighted"
 real 56k

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"It was a tight game with not many chances"
 real 56k

Saturday, 10 February, 2001, 18:53 GMT
Litmanen penalty denies Sunderland
Emile Heskey
Emile Heskey: Forced off with an injury after 28 minutes
Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool

Jari Litmanen stroked home a late penalty for Liverpool to cancel out Don Hutchison's second-half rocket in a furiously competitive clash at the Stadium of Light.

Hutchison looked to have won the points when he thundered home a 51st minute strike.

But substitute Litmanen earned Liverpool a point after Gary McAllister had been brought down on the edge of the area.

The game threatened to boil over almost staight from the kick-off.

Sunderland boss Peter Reid and players Niall Quinn and Michael Gray were all spoken to by referee Graham Barber in an explosive opening period.

Four possible candidates for Sven Goran Eriksson's England attack were on show in Emile Heskey, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Kevin Phillips.

  Match highlights
16 mins: Varga free kick deflects wide
28 mins: Heskey replaced by Litmanen
33 mins: Phillips denied by Westerveld
51 mins: Hutchison scores
79 mins: Litmanen fires equaliser

But it was the man being tipped as England's midfield lynchpin - Steven Gerrard - who mustered the first decent goal attempt.

His looping shot bobbled wide of Thomas Sorensen's upright.

Sunderland retaliated with former Reds midfielder Hutchison completely missing the ball from ten yards out.

As Liverpool tried to scramble the ball to safety, it fell to Stefan Schwarz but the Swede sent a rasping drive inches over the bar.

The pitch and conditions may have deteriorated as the half progressed but, if anything, the football improved.

Fowler was the next man to spurn an opportunity, when he directed a header from a Heskey cross well wide of the target.

We lost our discipline after Liverpool's goal
  Sunderland boss Peter Reid

That was to be Heskey's last contribution to the game. The burly striker, suffering from an ankle injury, was replaced by Litmanen with just 28 minutes played.

The home side were beginning to seize the initiative, with Phillips and Quinn causing the Liverpool defence problems.

And it was the lively Phillips who had the best chance of the first half saved when he latched onto a defensive error before drilling a shot goalwards.

Both sides forced corners in the early stages of the second half but neither was able to create any real openings as defenders largely came out on top.

Niall Quinn
Quinn: Linked up well with Phillips

However, the home side finally forced their way in front with 51 minutes gone after Phillips set off on a mazy run.

The striker was up-ended while trying to round Hyypia on the edge of the box.

But as the home fans appealed for a penalty, the Liverpool defence made a hash of clearing their lines and the ball fell to Hutchison.

I was delighted to see our substitutes bring so much to the game and I was happy with the performance
  Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier
The Scottish international took his time before lashing a shot past Westerveld to open the scoring.

The Black Cats poured forward in search of a killer second goal.

But Liverpool were thrown a lifeline 11 minutes from time when Gary McAllister was controversially brought down on the edge of the area.

Barber gave a penalty despite Stanislav Varga's foul appearing to be outside the area and Litmanen slotted it home in typically calm fashion.

The draw retains Liverpool's impeccable record on Wearside - they haven't lost there since 1958.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Williams, Gray, Varga, Makin, Hutchison, Schwarz, McCann, Arca, Quinn, Phillips. Subs: Macho, Dichio, Oster, Kilbane, McCartney.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Babbel, Hyypia, Henchoz, Vignal, Hamann, Gerrard, McAllister, Biscan, Heskey, Fowler. Subs: Owen, Diomede, Nielsen, Wright, Litmanen.

Referee: G Barber (Tring)

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See also:

26 Dec 00 |  Eng Prem
Phillips treble stuns Bradford
18 Jan 01 |  Sunderland
Reid backs Phillips' England bid
12 Jan 01 |  Sunderland
Reid named top manager
29 Dec 00 |  Sunderland
Reid's Wearside revolution
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