On the first occasion at Anfield in April of last year, Heskey steamrollered the rookie defensive partnership of Tony and Alton Thelwell and scored before withdrawing early with injury.
The duo then coped admirably with the threat of Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler - only a late penalty giving the scoreline a gloss it perhaps did not deserve.
Just over a year on, Tony faced up to the powerful Heskey again and orchestrated a defensive display that shackled the threat of the England man and strike partner Michael Owen.
"We had the measure of him this time," reflected Tony. "I've grown as a player and I can definitely improve more. I feel more confident playing against these type of players."
Tony insists that there is little chance now of him being overpowered by the Premiership's burly hitmen.
"No way, no way - I've added to my game."
Tony says part of the defensive success against Liverpool came with playing a bit deeper than normal to counter the pace of the England front men.
"Yeah because they've got pace up front, everybody knows that. We thought we might have to give up a little bit of space to stop them getting behind us with pace."
In only his second senior start for the club Anthony Gardner encountered the daunting challenge of of facing Emile Heskey for the first time - the second was an althogether happier memory.