Own goal gives Reds advantage
An own-goal from Andy Webster separated the two sides as Liverpool scraped a 1-0 victory over Hearts in the Europa League play-off.
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.
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 Jamie 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.
Liverpool should have been ahead just before the break when Mehdi Taouil was dispossessed by Raheem Sterling and he set up Fabio 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.
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.