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On a noisy night at Tynecastle in Edinburgh, Liverpool got back to its winning ways in a hard fought contest by both sides, thanks to an Andy Webster own goal.
After a disappointing 3-0 loss to West Brom over the weekend, this was the perfect chance for Liverpool to gain a much needed confidence boost. It was the same situation for the Hearts, who squandered a 2-0 lead against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but ended up drawing 2-2. Both sides were looking for a boost going into their respective games this weekend.
While the Liverpool manager decided to rest the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, he still fielded a side which consisted of seven internationals. But early on, with loud support from the Hearts, fans striker John Sutton nearly got in; Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina was alert to clear the ball.
Slowly but surely, Liverpool got back into the game and started to create chances. The best chance was a Jordan Henderson through ball narrowly missed by Fabio Borini, who tried to volley the ball past Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald. But some Hearts will feel their side should have been awarded a penalty when Jamie Carragher handled the ball, though it did look accidental.
Late on in the first half, Raheem Sterling produced a great interception and was through on goal. Instead of being selfish, with only the keeper to beat, he produced a pass to Borini but somehow hit bar with seconds to go until the half-time whistle.
Both teams struggled to really get going in the second half. Even though only a few half chances being created by both sides, Hearts fans kept singing throughout the whole match. Liverpool kept playing it from the back and passed throughout the whole game, keeping up with Rodgers philosophy.
Finally, the deadlock was broken in the 77th minute when Liverpool got around the tiring Hearts defence. A good cross by Martin Kelly caused chaos in the Hearts penalty area, and although Borini nearly put the ball in the net, it was an own goal by Andy Webster as he tried in vain not to make contact with the ball.
Although late on Andy Driver had a great chance to equalize, his shot lacked pace. The Hearts had to settle with a 1-0 home defeat.
While Liverpool will take this victory away from home, and look forward to the home leg, for Hearts it was an encouraging display by such a youthful squad.
The second leg will take place August 30 at Anfield. Before that game, Liverpool will host Premier League champions Manchester City, while the Hearts are away at Pittodrie against Aberdeen.