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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 September, 2003, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Liverpool fend off Leicester
Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City
Michael Owen puts Liverpool ahead against Leicester with a penalty at Anfield

Liverpool earned their first home win of the season against Leicester as striker Emile Heskey also opened his goal account for the campaign.

Michael Owen put Liverpool ahead from the penalty spot after Vladimir Smicer was fouled by Gerry Taggart.

Leicester fought their way back into the game but suffered a setback when former striker Heskey extended Liverpool's lead.

The visitors caused some nervy late moments for the home side after Marcus Bent's 90th minute strike but Gerard Houllier's side held on for the three points.

KEY MOMENTS
20 mins: Owen puts Liverpool ahead from the spot
75: Heskey adds Liverpool's second
90: Bent pulls one back for Leicester

Liverpool had the poorest home record of the top five last season as they failed to find the creativity to break down defensive-minded teams at Anfield.

Leicester arrived with similar tactics by keeping plenty of players behind the ball but found it hard to contain an enterprising Liverpool.

The visitors also had to to deal with Craig Hignett having to go off after six minutes because of a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Jordan Stewart.

Liverpool were passing the ball around impressively and Foxes defender Gerry Taggart had to be at his sharpest to get in a crucial 13th-minute tackle to block a shot from Smicer.

Owen seemed certain make the breakthrough minutes later but somehow keeper Ian Walker saved when the ball struck his legs before bouncing into his arms.

Liverpool intensified the pressure on the Leicester goal and took the lead from the penalty spot after Smicer had been brought down.

Owen stepped up to send Walker the wrong way and score his 16th goal in his last 16 Premiership games.

Harry Kewell went close with a shot and a header while Owen and El-Hadji Diouf also had chances to extend Liverpool's lead without success.

Leicester almost made Gerard Houllier's team pay for their misses as they battled their way back into the match.

But centre-back Igor Biscan blocked a well-struck goalbound shot from Bent just before half-time.

Leicester continued to frustrate Liverpool after the break as the home side failed to reproduce the football which helped earn them the lead.

James Scowcroft will be disappointed he did not do better with a header across the face of goal for Leicester while Steven Gerrard and Owen went close at the other end.

There was an edgy atmosphere at Anfield at 1-0 but that was relieved when Heskey added a second after 75 minutes.

Bent grabbed a late goal to leave the home support on edge but Liverpool held out for the three points.


Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Biscan, Hyypia, Riise, Diouf (Le Tallec 88), Gerrard, Smicer (Murphy 76), Kewell, Heskey, Owen.
Subs Not Used: Luzi Bernardi, Diao, Traore.

Leicester: Walker, Curtis, Sinclair, Taggart, Thatcher, Hignett (Stewart 7), Izzet, Nalis (Scimeca 75), Scowcroft, Dickov, Bent, Stewart (Deane 71).
Subs Not Used: Impey, Coyne.

Attendance: 44,094

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).



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