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Sunday, 15 October, 2000, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Heskey hat-trick sinks Derby
Derby 0-4 Liverpool
Emile Heskey fired a stunning hat-trick to sink Derby without a trace in a one-sided Pride Park clash.
Heskey powered home a thumping header and an unstoppable right-foot shot, before completing the set with a bundled left-foot finish from Nicky Barmby's cross.
Heskey's first Premiership hat-trick capped a fine afternoon for the big striker, but his original strike partner Michael Owen was unable to join in the celebrations after being stretchered off and taken to hospital with a nasty-looking head injury.
Owen was hurt in an accidental collision with Chris Riggott in the build-up to Heskey's opening goal.
After a lengthy hold-up, the England striker was stretchered off with blood pouring from a head wound, which needed at least six stitches.
Owen, suffering from "mild concussion" was then taken to hospital for checks, having been replaced by Robbie Fowler up front.
Reds boss Gerard Houllier had already lost Vegard Heggem to a hamstring injury after only two minutes, yet still remained in total control in the first half.
Heskey's goal, on 17 minutes, was the least they deserved for a first period in which the home side barely had a sniff of goal.
The big striker crashed home an unstoppable header from Gary McAllister's corner for his first strike in eight matches since the opening day of the Premiership season.
The goal came at a price, with Owen tumbling as he ran into the box, though it was the force Riggott falling on top of him that did the damage.
Fowler's continued rehabilitation from injury came a little sooner than expected, and his first touch saw him set up Heskey again midway through the first half, only for Bragstad to save Derby with a tremendous block.
It took an even more remarkable saving tackle to deny Fowler a goal of his own a minute after the break.
Christian Ziege drove in a rasping shot from the left which goalkeeper Mart Poom made a total mess of, but as the ball fell to the feet of Fowler, Johnson slid in superbly to prevent a certain goal.
The second goal was not far in coming though, and again it was Heskey who proved Derby's destroyer.
Fowler played him through with a neatly-weighted pass and Heskey's finish was clinical as he drove a blistering right-foot shot beyond the despairing dive of Poom and into the top right-hand corner of the net.
With The Rams forced to come out in search of a lifeline, Liverpool's chances began to flow freely and Fowler should have put the game out of reach on the hour.
Heskey unselfishly played him through as Liverpool went two-against-one with the Derby defence on the counter-attack, but Fowler's shot was comfortably pushed away by Poom.
Inevitably though, it was Heskey who shut the door on any hopes Derby had of mounting one of their infamous comebacks.
Barmby's tireless running down the right carved open the chance and an inch-perfect low cross gave Heskey the chance to bundle the ball in from eight yards out.
Liverpool still weren't finished though and they capped a spell of keep-ball with another stunning goal 10 minutes from time.
This time it was midfielder Patrik Berger who supllied the finishing touch, driving home a left-foot shot from just outside the penalty area after a patient passing build-up from Liverpool.
Sander Westerveld's applause at the other end was probably an exercise to keep his hands warm after the home side failed to force a single save from the goalkeeper.
But the fourth goal was the final nail in Derby's coffin and prompted a chorus of boos from the frustrated home fans who, without a win all season, are not being offered much cause for pride at Pride Park.
Derby: Poom, Powell, Delap, Burley, Johnson, Kinkladze, Christie, Eranio, Riggott, Bragstad, Valakari. Subs: Sturridge, Morris, Higginbotham, Strupar, Grant.
Liverpool: Westerveld, Ziege, Babbel, Heskey, Owen, Hyypia, Heggem, Berger, Barmby, McAllister, Carragher. Subs: Smicer, Fowler, Murphy, Arphexad, Traore.
Referee: S Bennett (Orpington)
15 Oct 00 | Eng Prem
No more Mr Nice Guy
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