After The Match 


LIVERPOOL-MIDDLESBR. 2-0 (0-0)            Sun May 3.        Premier League
Goals: Murphy (pen 49), Heskey (52)
Team: Dudek, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Riise, Smicer, Murphy, Gerrard, Hamann, Kewell, Owen
Subs: Heskey (Smicer 46), Finnan (Henchoz 46)
Not used: Luzi, Cheyrou, Baros
Yellow: Gerrard (5)      Mills (52)
Red: None
Referee: Andy D'Urso
Attendance: 42,031

                                                             FIXTURES & RESULTS
Shots on target: 8-6
Shots off target: 7-6
Fouls conceded: 12-14
Corners: 7-3
Yellow: 1-1





"I thought at times
we were a bit
nervous and
bit tense..."

                Gerard Houllier

0205: Houllier confident of fourth place finish
0205: Liverpool stay fourth and prosper


Houllier confident of fourth place finish


Gerard Houllier has "every confidence" that his Liverpool side will claim fourth place in the Barclaycard Premiership and the Champions League spot that goes with it.

Liverpool beat Middlesbrough 2-0 at Anfield to move a point clear of Aston Villa in fourth and Houllier tipped his players to complete the job.

After Danny Murphy and Emile Heskey secured maximum points, Houllier told Sky Sports 1: "The defeat against Charlton probably affected our confidence but I have every confidence in the boys that they will make it.

"The fight for the fourth place will go maybe right to the end. We'll give our best shot to secure that place."

The Frenchman admitted nerves had troubled Liverpool but had words of praise for Michael Owen, who helped break down Boro's resolute defence.

He added: "I thought it was a cracking game of football. The first half was high tempo, both teams wanted to score and I enjoyed it.

"The boys did extremely well in terms of defending because Middlesbrough were coming to get a result.

"In the second half we had more penetration and a couple of good moves and scored two good goals. Michael was instrumental because he got the penalty and made the second goal for Emile.

"After that we tried to keep the result more than get a third goal but you can understand that in the position we are in.

"I thought at times we were a bit nervous and bit tense but we had some really good movement in the second half."

Liverpool stay fourth and prosper

Sky Sports

Liverpool took a step closer to securing fourth spot in the Premiership with a straightforward 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

The watching Sven Goran Eriksson would have been delighted to have seen English stars Michael Owen, Danny Murphy and Emile Heskey play crucial roles in getting the goals - the former earning a penalty and laying on the second for his strike partner.

Owen had rocketed a low shot against a post in a first half that saw both sides create chances, but a seven minute period at the start of the second half wrapped up victory for The Reds, and kept them ahead of Aston Villa and Newcastle United as the race for a UEFA Champions League place enters its final stages.

Mark Schwarzer had produced two solid saves to deny the England number ten in the opening minutes after the break, but was given no chance from a Danny Murphy penalty after Owen was clumsily felled in the box by Chris Riggott.

Four minutes later and the game was all but wrapped up when Owen cleverly touched the ball round a defender, presumably for himself, but watched as second half substitute Heskey gleefully swept home to double his side's advantage.

A thrilling first half had seen chances for both sides, with Owen hitting a post but Joseph Desire Job wastefully firing Boro's best chance too close to a grateful Jerzy Dudek.

Gaizka Mendieta had indicated Boro's desire to keep the game open, and his early free-kick had Dudek scrambling.

Job will be disappointed with his 12th minute effort, the ball falling kindly for the striker in a central area on the edge of the box, but his shot allowing Dudek to make a smart stop.

Owen had an 13th minute effort crucially blocked by the alert Ugo Ehiogu , but just 60 seconds later was even more unfortunate when he bundled through a challenge but saw his low shot across Mark Schwarzer smashing an upright and rebounding to safety.

John Arne Riise fired narrowly wide, whilst Danny Murphy saw a free-kick evade the wall but not the grasp of Schwarzer.

The otherwise ineffective Harry Kewell did put the ball in the net from a free-kick, only top be adjudged offside and at the other end Chris Riggott flicked on a curling cross, but could not shift the ball far enough to either side of Dudek to cause a problem.

After suffering through the opening exchanges of the second half and finding themselves two goal behind, Middlesbrough gainfully tried to get a foothold in the match - but aside from a Slizard Nemeth shot that had Dudek leaping acrobatically across his goal to save could produce little in the May sunshine.

Boro have had better days, but their fans are confident for the future, whilst Liverpool's season is taking a turn for the better - and England fans will be delighted to see Owen beginning to get back on his game ahead of the European Championships.

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Thor Zakariassen