Own-goal gives Reds the edge at Tynecastle

Hearts 0 Liverpool 1

An own-goal from Andy Webster was all that separated the two sides as Liverpool scraped a narrow victory over Hearts in tonight's Europa League play-off at Tynecastle.

The Edinburgh side impressed for much of the tie before suffering a late blow against their Barclays Premier League visitors, who made the trip across the border without a number of star players.

The result was far more credible than Hearts' 5-0 thrashing against Tottenham at the same venue last season and at least provides some hope ahead of the second leg at Anfield next week.

Andy Carroll failed to make the Reds squad for tonight's clash - despite his presence at the stadium - as a question mark remained over his Liverpool future, with the £35million striker linked with a return to Newcastle.

Boss Brendan Rodgers opted instead for the goal threat to come from Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling.

Daniel Agger also started following his red card in the 3-0 defeat at West Brom, but Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson were all left on Merseyside ahead of Sunday's visit of champions Manchester City.

Goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald was between the sticks for Hearts - agreeing to play after his partner gave birth to a baby girl yesterday - meaning Peter Enckelman had to settle for a place on the bench rather than his Jambos debut.

The home side was boosted further by the news that skipper Marius Zaliukas was able to start after recovering from a dead leg.

The first chance fell to Liverpool when Charlie Adam embarked on a surging run that took him to the edge of the box before unleashing a low drive that was blocked by MacDonald.

At the other end, Hearts had a decent chance of their own to open the scoring when a long range effort from Arvydas Novikovas forced a great save from Pepe Reina.

John Sutton then dragged his shot inches wide of the post and David Templeton fired just over the crossbar as the home side continued to threaten in front of goal.

After the flurry of chances for Hearts, Liverpool gradually came back into the game without causing too many problems for the defence, until a swerving shot from Sterling was punched to safety by the goalkeeper.

The visitors looked dangerous again when Jordan Henderson delivered an inviting cross from the right into the box but Borini just failed to connect in front of goal.

Hearts then claimed Jamie Carragher handled a Templeton corner in the box but the pleas for a penalty were ignored by referee Florian Meyer.

Liverpool should have been ahead just before the break when Mehdi Taouil was dispossessed by Sterling and he set up Borini for a shot that appeared net-bound but crashed off the post instead.

Hearts, bolstered by their performance so far, were not too far away after the restart when Callum Paterson's powerful angled drive dipped just over the crossbar.

Adam then had another go at goal but he was off-target and succeeded only in smashing his shot off the advertising hoardings.

The breakthrough came with 12 minutes to go and Hearts fell behind in cruel circumstances when an excellent Martin Kelly ball from the right was missed by Borini but came off the shin of Webster and into the back of his own net.

Substitute Andy Driver could have snatched a leveller a couple of minutes from time but his effort was smothered by the goalkeeper.

News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there