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Football

Liverpool survive at giantkillers


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YEOVIL, England -- Liverpool survived a below-par first half performance to beat renowned FA Cup giantkillers Yeovil 2-0 in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

But it was not until the 70th minute that Liverpool opened the scoring through substitute Emile Heskey before Danny Murphy's penalty seven minutes later killed off the home side's hopes.

Yeovil's best chance saw Gavin Williams brilliantly denied by Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek.

Liverpool, 20 points behind Premiership leaders Manchester United, went into this match knowing that their hopes of ending their 14-year wait for the league title were all but finished.

And there was even speculation that defeat here could see the end of manager Gerard Houllier's Anfield reign.

Yeovil started the match 67 league places behind their opponents but it was they who had the better of the opening 45 minutes.

Liverpool were lacking the drive of Steven Gerrard in midfield and the pace of Michael Owen up front, the England duo missing the match through injury. But their absence alone could not explain the visitors lack of penetration up front.

And it was Yeovil who produced the slick, passing football that was once the hallmark of their opponents with Liverpool goalkeeper Dudek twice preventing the Glovers taking the lead.

Australia international Harry Kewell had the game's first chance but the striker's shot was competently saved by Yeovil goalkeeper Chris Weale.

Yeovil were playing the more creative football and in the 23rd minute Dudek, who looked nervous on crosses, produced a fine diving save to turn away Williams well-struck shot.

And moments later Dudek again had to be sharp to block lively midfielder Darren Way's close-range effort.

Yeovil, fielding Portuguese defender Hugo Rodrigues, at 6ft 8inches the tallest player in English football, deservedly went into the break all square at 0-0.

Five minutes into the second half Houllier brought on England striker Heskey in place of the unimposing Florent Simone-Pongolle.

And moments later the former Leicester City forward was clean through on goal only for the alert Weale to come quickly off his line and block his shot.

Liverpool were enjoying an increased amount of possession and in the 62nd minute almost took the lead when Vladimir Smicer's low shot from the edge of the box hit Weale's right post with the keeper beaten.

But in the 66th minute, Williams burst clear of the Liverpool defence only to strike his attempted curler tamely at Dudek.

However, Yeovil were being forced back towards their own goal and in the 70th minute Heskey gave Liverpool the lead.

Played in down the right hand channel by Murphy, Heskey's first time angled shot beat Weale before settling just inside the far post.

And six minutes later Liverpool had a penalty when Kewell turned past Rodrigues inside the box and somewhat dramatically fell over the defender's trailing leg.

Murphy then calmly sidefooted home the spot kick past the diving Weale's left-hand to complete Liverpool's revival.


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