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BBC Five Live's Ron Jones
"It really was a disappointing night"
 real 14k

Liverpool goal-scorer Emile Heskey
"I thought we played well tonight."
 real 14k

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier
"You have to respect the opposition"
 real 56k

Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 21:41 GMT 22:41 UK
Heskey rescues poor Liverpool
Robbie Fowler
Fowler shapes to take his doomed penalty
Liverpool 1-0 Slovan Liberec

An Emile Heskey goal after 87 minutes earned Liverpool a win following a witless performance at Anfield.

The victory had looked unlikely up until then, as spirited Liberec frustrated a Liverpool side lacking ideas and movement.

The Reds had a prime opportunity to break the deadlock earlier in the second-half when they were awarded a highly dubious penalty, but Robbie Fowler blazed high over the crossbar.

Liverpool started slowly and struggled to pick up momentum. Liberec got numbers behind the ball and concentrated on stifling their opponents, attacking only on the counter-attack.

The home side lacked imagination and rarely got behind their opponents.

They didn't have a chance of note until nearly half an hour, when Vladimir Smicer was only inches away from reaching Christian Ziege's glancing header when he was inside the six-yard box.

Missed chances

Shortly afterwards Robbie Fowler, looking for his first Liverpool goal since December last year, failed to control the ball inside the area after a richoche off a Liberec defender had fallen to him.

He then had an even better chance just minutes later. Heskey outpaced his marker down the left wing and sent in an excellent low cross, which Fowler met first time from 10 yards but sent wide of the post.

After 53 minutes the referee gave Liverpool an excellent chance to break the deadlock by awarding a controversial penalty.

Smicer Kozuch
Smicer evades Kozuch's challenge
Berger sent in a corner from the left and Hamann went down after minimal contact from Jiri Stajner.

Fowler stepped up to take the spot-kick, but blazed embarassingly high over the crossbar.

After an hour Murphy beat his man to create space and hit a low shot from the edge of the area which Hauzr could only parry.

Late pressure

Smicer picked up the rebound inside the area and could have squared the ball to the unmarked Fowler, but instead he shot straight at the keeper from an acute angle.

From the resulting corner Marcus Babbel headed powerfully against the crossbar.

Liberec still posed the occasional threat on the counter. After 64 minutes Lazzaro controlled a long ball excellently and moved menacingly into the box, but Babbel timed his tackle perfectly to disposses the Argentine attacker.

Dietmar Hamann
Hamann (l) tussles with Jany
Liverpool piled forward near the end and Liberec clung on desperately. With five minutes to go Heskey broke down the right-hand side of the area and squared to Fowler, who was just beaten to the ball inside the box.

But moments later they gained a breakthrough. Barmby siezed on a poor clearance from a corner and his shot was only parried by Hauzr. Heskey reacted quickly and crashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Henchoz, Ziege, Babbel, Smicer, Heskey, Fowler, Murphy, Berger, Hamann, Carragher.
Subs: Song, Hyypia, Arphexad, Barmby, McAllister, Camara, Traore.

Liberec: Hauzr, Capek, Michalik, Lexa, Kozuch, Stajner, Liuni, Johana, Janu, Neumann, Pilny.
Subs: Breda, Bakes, Jun, Beno, Silney, T. Barta, J. Nezmar.

Referee: Messimo Bufacca.

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See also:

26 Oct 00 |  Liverpool
Houllier admits scoring woe
26 Oct 00 |  Uefa Cup
F-T: Liverpool 1-0 Slovan Liberec
15 Oct 00 |  Eng Prem
No more Mr Nice Guy
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