Liverpool scrape a win to kick-off European campaign
Liverpool scraped a 1-0 win over Hearts while a Newcastle side shorn of several familiar faces survived sweltering conditions to hold Greek side Atromitos to a 1-1 draw in their Europa League play-off round first-legs on Thursday.sports Updated: Aug 25, 2012 00:42 IST
Liverpool scraped a 1-0 win over Hearts while a Newcastle side shorn of several familiar faces survived sweltering conditions to hold Greek side Atromitos to a 1-1 draw in their Europa League play-off round first-legs on Thursday.
Liverpool needed an own goal from Andy Webster with 12 minutes remaining at Tynecastle to see off Hearts in the absence of several first teamers, including England forward Andy Carroll - persistently linked with a return to Newcastle.
Carroll, nursing a sore hamstring, was not even on the bench as coach Brendan Rodgers fielded Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling in attack.
The Reds also left out Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson with Manchester City to visit in the league on Sunday.
Arvydas Novikovas might have given the Edinburgh side a shock lead but Pepe Reina saved well in the Liverpool goal before Borini hit the post at the other end.
Liverpool made the breakthrough when Martin Kelly sent in a challenging cross from the right which Borini did not connect with only for the unfortunate Webster to deflect into his own net.
Veteran Jamie Carragher praised Liverpool's youngsters, particularly young striker Sterling.
"This club's got a great tradition of bringing young players through and the way the manager wants to play suits him (Sterling) down to the ground," said Carragher.
"He's come in and done really well and at the age of 17 it looks like he's got a big future."