After The Match 


Liverpool-Middlesbrough 2-0 (0-0)    10.12.05                     PL
Goals: Morientes (71 & 77)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Gerrard, Alonso, Sissoko, Kewell, Crouch, Morientes
Subs: Garcia (Crouch 67), Cisse (Kewell 83),
Josemi (Morientes 87)
Not used: Dudek, Warnock
Yellow: Sissoko (66)     Bates (66), Riggott (79, 84)
Red: Riggott (84)
Referee: S Bennett
Attendance: 43,510
Shots on target: 12-1
Shots off target: 9-3
Possession: 54-46
Fouls conceded: 10-20
Corners: 11-2
Yellow: 1-2


HEADLINES "Things are working
very well
in defence..."

    Rafael Benitez

1012: Benitez praise for Nando
1012: Morientes brace breaks Boro


Benitez praise for Nando

By James Pearson - Sky Sports

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has revealed he was happy with Fernando Morientes' displays prior to his brace against Middlesbrough.

The former Real Madrid striker has struggled for goals this term, but the Spain international ended that poor run against Boro at Anfield.

Steve McClaren's boys defended superbly on Merseyside before a mistake by Matthew Bates allowed Morientes to break the deadlock.

"He was playing well in the last games, but sometimes the most important thing for strikers is to score goals," explained Benitez.

The clean-sheet against Boro was Liverpool's 10th consecutive shut-out, but Benitez is refusing to get carried away with their impressive defensive record.

"Things are working very well in defence," he added. "We continue winning and the players continue playing well."

England international Steven Gerrard conceded the game was not a classic, but he did not mind as The Reds claimed the points.

"It wasn't a classic to watch but three points was the most important thing," Gerrard told Sky Sports 1.

"It was a similar story here last year when we drew but we had the spark in the end with Fernando Morientes."

Morientes brace breaks Boro

By James Pearson - Sky Sports

Middlesbrough put up stern resistance at Anfield before a late brace from Spanish striker Fernando Morientes gave Liverpool a 2-0 win.

Boro defended superbly for three-quarters of the contest on Merseyside before a mistake by Matthew Bates allowed Morientes to open the scoring after 71 minutes.

Shortly after, Jamie Carragher's long-ball was deflected by Frank Queudrue allowing Morientes a clean run on goal and he sealed the contest with a deft chip over Mark Schwarzer.

The win moves Liverpool into second in The Premiership ahead of Manchester United and leaves the side just nine points behind leaders Chelsea.

Liverpool were quick out of the blocks, but in truth none of Steven Gerrard's three early speculative efforts troubled Schwarzer.

The game proceeded to slip into an uneventful scrappy period before Schwarzer was forced to tip Morientes' looping header over the crossbar for a corner.

Peter Crouch directed a header on goal from the resulting corner, but emerging talent Bates was on hand to clear the danger with a defensive header.

The visitors created little in terms of opportunities in the opening period and Jose Reina was surprised to see Gareth Southgate try a volley from distance - although the shot never troubled his goal.

Liverpool upped their game in the closing stages of the first half and almost made the crucial breakthrough before the interval.

Mohamed Sissoko only found Schwarzer with a tame header following Crouch's knock-down before Crouch fired just wide under pressure from Chris Riggott from Gerrard's low cross.

Boro were desperately close to opening the scoring after half time when a superb Fabio Rochemback pass played in Viduka, but the big Aussie's shot was blocked by Reina's leg.

John Arne Riise would have scored one of the goals of the season had his rasping drive kept under the crossbar after he fired Gerrard's right wing corner at Schwarzer's goal.

Schwarzer was down smartly to his right just moments later when he palmed Morientes' deflected shot just wide of goal following a give-away by Morrison.

The chances continued to come, although one could be forgiven in thinking it was not to be Liverpool's day when Kewell's floated effort was denied by Schwarzer.

However, the breakthrough arrived shortly after and Morientes was left all alone in the middle after Bates switched off and the Spaniard made no mistake with only Schwarzer to beat from close range.

Boro responded in fine fashion and only a fine save from Reina denied Morrison a goal when he blocked the winger's shot following a fine run and one-two with Viduka.

The game was over as a contest after 77 minutes when Morientes latched onto Queudrue's header and lobbed Schwarzer for his third Premiership goal at Anfield this season.

Things got worse for Boro and they concluded the contest with just ten-men when the impressive Riggott earned a second yellow card for catching Gerrard late on.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen