Reds move into third spot

EMILE HESKEY scored the only goal of the game to sink his former club and give Liverpool three vital points at Anfield this afternoon.

Heskey, fresh from his hat-trick against Derby last weekend, slid in at the far post on 68 minutes to secure the victory and move the Reds above Peter Taylor's side in the Premiership into third.

Robbie Fowler captained the side and made his first Premiership start of the season in place of Michael Owen, who had failed to recover from the head injury he sustained at Derby last weekend.

Steven Gerrard and Dietmar Hamann also returned to the Liverpool side after injury in place of Vegard Heggem and Jamie Carragher.

Gary McAllister retained his place in midfield and made his first league start at Anfield in a Liverpool shirt. Stephane Henchoz returned to the bench after recovering from a dead leg but there was no place in the 16 for Titi Camara.

Leicester were looking for their fourth straight win at Anfield and Richard Cresswell was preferred in attack to record summer signing Ade Akinbiyi.

It was the visitors who had the first opportunity of the game after forcing a corner on two minutes. Izzet's corner was cleared back to the Leicester midfielder and his cross into the box found Gary Rowett unmarked in the six-yard box but his header was straight at Sander Westerveld.

Liverpool got themselves back into the game and it was McAllister who was leading the way in midfield.

The Scotsman played a neat one-two with Heskey who sent him clear in the Leicester box.

McAllister hit his shot straight at Flowers and the rebound landed at Heskey's feet but his shot was again well saved by the goalkeeper.

Thirty seconds later and it was Hamann who was powering through the midfield but his shot from the edge of the box was sliced disappointingly wide.

Ziege was fouled on the edge of the penalty box one minute later and Patrik Berger stepped up to take the free-kick. But his drive hit the Leicester wall and although the rebound came back to him, he could only put his effort wide of the goal.

On 14 minutes, defender Phil Gilchrist was the first man to find himself in the referee's notebook for a foul on Heskey.

Liverpool now began to dominate and they were creating chances.

Nick Barmby played a clever one-two with Emile Heskey on the edge of the box in the 15th minute but he curled his left foot shot just wide of Flowers' goal.

Three minutes later and Liverpool created their best chance of the opening 20 minutes. Heskey won the ball in the box and found Fowler in space. His left-foot drive flew past Flowers but Rowett produced a spectacular goal-line clearance to deny the Liverpool striker his first goal of the season.

On 24 minutes, Liverpool came closer still to finding the breakthrough.

Berger found Fowler and his pass sent Heskey clear but his powerful shot was pushed onto the bar by Tim Flowers to give Liverpool a corner, which they failed to take advantage of.

It was Liverpool who continued to dominate and on the half hour mark it was Flowers who was again called into action to prevent the home side from taking the lead.

Hamann won the ball in midfield and he released Berger who unleashed a shot from 25 yards that had Flowers diving to his left to tip the ball round the post for a corner.

Four minutes later, again it was Flowers who kept the Reds out. This time, after a good move involving Barmby and Heskey, the ball fell at the feet of McAllister 15 yards from goal but his shot was again tipped round the post by the Leicester goalkeeper.

One minute later, Berger came close to opening the scoring when a corner was cleared to him just outside the penalty area. He controlled the ball on his chest before unleashing a half volley that zipped past Flowers' left-hand post.

Liverpool continued to probe but they couldn't find a way through and the sides went into the interval level.

Half-time: Liverpool 0, Leicester 0.

The second half began much in the same way as the first had ended with Liverpool on top but they failed to create any early clear cut chances.

Ziege was the first Liverpool player to be booked by referee D'Urso after he pulled back Andrew Impey.

It was Impey who had an excellent chance to give the visitors a lead in the 54th minute. Eadie did well down the left and his cross across the front of the goal fell to Impey at the far post but he failed to connect when a goal seemed certain.

Leicester were now beginning to get into the game and again Impey found himself with an excellent chance. This time a cross by Lennon fell to him at the back post but he failed to control and the ball bounced harmlessly behind.

On the hour mark, it was Liverpool who had a chance to take the lead when Berger found space on the edge of the box but his shot was hit straight at Flowers.

Liverpool then created a couple of half-chances from crosses by both fullbacks. Firstly, Heskey miskicked in front of goal from a Ziege cross and three minutes later Robbie Fowler headed over after Gerrard had swung a cross into the penalty area.

HESKEY though would not be denied in the 68th minute. A long ball by Markus Babbel evaded a Leicester defender as Heskey slid in at the far post to turn the ball home and give Liverpool the lead.

Liverpool had two chances to extend their lead in the 75th minute. Hamann hit a right-foot effort that flashed over the bar and then a few seconds later McAllister sent Heskey clean through but the Liverpool striker was denied a second goal by another fine save from Flowers.

Heskey then should have wrapped up the points for Liverpool when he was again sent clear, this time by Barmby, but he took too long and when he finally shot, Flowers saved to keep the visitors in the match.

On 88 minutes, Leicester almost produced an equaliser when an Izzet shot was tipped round the post by Westerveld.

Attendance: 44,395

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

LEICESTER: Flowers, Rowett, Izzet, Lennon, Savage, Eadie, Davidson, Gilchrist, Elliott, Cresswell, Impey. Subs: Sinclair, Guppy, Royce, Oakes, Akinbiyi.

REFEREE: Andy D'Urso.

Copyright - Liverpool Echo

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