After The Match 


Liverpool-Middlesbr. 2-0 (0-0)     Wed Nov 10.       Carling Cup - 4. round
Goals: Mellor (83, 89)
Team: Dudek, Henchoz, Finnan, Diao, Traore, Pongolle, Biscan, Warnock, Mellor, Potter, Whitbread
Subs: Partridge (Pongolle 69), Welsh (Diao 76), Riise (Warnock 82)
Not used: Luzi, Raven
Yellow: Diao
Red: None
Referee: H M Webb
Attendance: 28,176

                                               MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 8-5
Shots off target: 5-5
Fouls conceded: 9-8
Corners: 2-7
Yellow: 1-0





"We need
to enjoy
the result..."

               Rafael Benitez

1111: Benitez could axe youngsters
1111: 'Made up' Mellor wants more goals
1111: Mellor provides goal-den talent
1011: Benitez praises youngsters
1011: Mellor puts Reds through

Benitez could axe youngsters

Sporting Life

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is considering breaking up his successful Carling Cup side.

Neil Mellor led the way on Wednesday night and set up a quarter-final meeting against Tottenham by scoring two goals in the defeat of Middlesbrough.

Benitez also drafted in young players such as Darren Potter, Stephen Warnock, Zak Whitbread, Richie Partridge and John Welsh.

The Spanish coach's inexperienced team rose to the challenge just as they did in the previous round against Millwall.

But with Steven Gerrard and Antonio Nunez getting close to fitness after injury, Benitez could change his policy as the competition reaches a crucial stage.

Gerrard may get a run-out next Monday in a reserves match after suffering a fractured metatarsal.

Nunez is also well on the road to recovery following a knee operation after moving from Real Madrid.

Benitez said: "I do not know at this moment who will play in the next stage.

"Gerrard and Nunez are recovering from injury and we will have more senior players available. We will see what happens."

'Made up' Mellor wants more goals


Neil Mellor has targeted a regular place in Rafael Benitez's squad after scoring twice in Wednesday's Carling Cup win over Middlesbrough.

The young striker knocked out the holders with two goals in the final seven minutes of the fourth-round tie at Anfield.

They were the 22-year-old's first goals at home for the club and came 22 months after his only ever previous goal for Liverpool in the same competition at Sheffield United.

And with Benitez suffering a striker shortage as Djibril Cisse recovers from a broken leg, Mellor has insisted he can deliver in the Premiership if given the chance.

"I'm made up," said the striker. "It was nice to open my account at Anfield with a couple of goals. I could barely stand up when I scored the first goal, I was falling all over the place I was that excited. And of course, they were my first goals in front of the Kop.

"Sadly there a couple of injuries at the moment but I believe that everything happens for a reason so hopefully I can take my chance with a few more goals on Saturday."

Mellor provides goal-den talent

By Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo

I'm so pleased for Neil Mellor today.

He's had very few chances to play for the Liverpool first team and had setbacks in being sent out on loan to West Ham, where his face didn't seem to fit and he never really figured either.

But he has never complained once and has just got on trying his best and waiting for his chance.

Last night he took it with two late goals which sealed victory for Rafael Benitez's youngsters - and which he clearly enjoyed.

By his own admission, he didn't actually have the greatest of games up until the goals came and thought he might be dragged off.

That is a refreshingly honest statement from a lad who might not be gifted with the natural footballing abilities of many Premiership stars - but who has one very valuable attribute to his game.

He is an out-and-out goalscorer and by all reports he kept his head up when things didn't come off and ran himself into the ground last night for the Reds cause.

Whether he is the answer to Liverpool's striking dilemma right now, with Heskey and Owen gone, Cisse out for the season and Baros struggling with a ham-string injury, is of course another question.

But against Birmingham last Saturday, Liverpool sorely missed someone to lead the forward line and take on the defenders. Birmingham were a very poor side but you felt Liverpool, having missed some great chances, were never going to score.

Goalscoring is what Mellor does offer to Liverpool, even if his game is lacking in other areas.

How often have top class strikers gone missing in matches or hardly had a kick before popping up to finish a chance and win their side the points?

Mellor proved last night the value of having a single-minded striker who can turn a game by finding the target.

Wherever his career goes from here I wish the lad nothing but good luck.

He's earned his moment in the spotlight and probably given Benitez some welcome food for thought about his striking options at the moment.

Losing appetite for Old Trafford battle

THE tabloids are licking their lips at the prospect of Arsenal being drawn to face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the next round of the Carling Cup.

But I'm not. The inquest into who chucked what at who and who insulted whom after their last meeting has frankly bored me for the last two weeks.

The battle of the buffet's long gone stale for me - but it looks like the hungry hacks are salivating at the idea of another petty showdown.

This game should be a mouthwatering prospect because of the football, not the fighting.

Both sides need to give it a rest and grow up.

Benitez praises youngsters

By Paul Higham - Sky Sports

Rafael Benitez was delighted with his Liverpool youngsters after they beat Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup.

The likes of Neil Mellor, Darren Potter, Zak Whitbread, Stephen Warnock and Ritchie Partridge all played their part in the victory.

Two goals from Mellor dumped Boro out of the competition and earned a place in the quarter finals for Liverpool.

Benitez will now have to decide if he sticks with the young guns for the next round, but he was keeping his cards close to his chest.

"The young players played very well," said Benitez. "These players have a very good mentality, we tried to play well and keep the ball and I'm delighted.

"We started very well and we had many opportunities and in the end I think the result was justified.

"We need to enjoy the result, Mellor must be very happy with his goals but we will have to see for Saturday if he plays - I think Milan Baros will be ok by then.

"We will see in the next round who plays, we will hopefully have more players available by then.

"They are good young players who train hard and when they come in they have done a good job.

"All they have to do now is carry on training hard and they will get their chance."

Mellor puts Reds through

By Paul Higham - Sky Sports

Liverpool dumped Middlesbrough out of the Carling Cup with a Neil Mellor double earning a 2-0 win at Anfield.

Liverpool had the better of a low key affair, but the game looked to be heading to extra time before young striker Mellor struck late on.

Mellor had worked hard all night and profited when applying a neat finish to Ritchie Partridge's fine through ball on 84 minutes to break the deadlock, before sealing the tie in the final minute.

Liverpool started brightly, especially Igor Biscan who looks a different player recently, and the Croatian fired in a shot from distance early on to test Carlo Nash.

Darren Pooter was presented with a great chance by Biscan, but the youngster blazed his shot over the bar from the right side of the box.

A Biscan charge through the middle nearly brought a goal when the ball broke for Florent Sinama-Pongolle, who was thwarted by some alert keeping from Nash.

The ball broke to Stephen Warnock on the left, who picked out Mellor but the ball was just inches too high and he could only nod over the bar.

Franck Queudrue had Boro's only noteworthy chance when he headed over from a corner, but it was the hosts who had the bulk of the possession, but just could not find any finishing touches.

Warnock tried with a teasing ball from the left that Mellor came within inches of converting, but after dominating Liverpool could, and maybe should, have gone in 1-0 down at half time.

Mark Viduka managed to bundle the ball through to Boudewijn Zenden inside the box, and the Dutchman converted before discovering the linesman had his flag up for offside, although it looked like a very tight call.

Joseph-Desire Job had a sight of the Liverpool goal in the second half but he dragged his shot so badly that it nearly went out for a throw.

Jerry Dudek nearly presented the visitors with a goal when he completely lost Stuart Downing's corner, but Zenden could only head over from virtually on the line.

The Polish keeper atoned for his error by flinging himself to his left to turn away Doriva's superb dipping volley.

Job came close to breaking the deadlock moments after Liverpool substitute Ritchie Partridge had a penalty appeal turned down, when the African marksman struck a low shot that beat Dudek but rebounded off the foot of the post.

The deadlock was broken on 83 minutes when Partridge picked out the galloping Mellor with a superb ball into the box, and he made no mistake in dinking over Nash into the back of the net.

Mellor made sure of the result with a minute left when Potter robbed Zenden 25 yards out and Mellor raced into the box before firing a left-footed drive past Nash, maybe via a slight deflection.

Middlesbrough had no response and The Reds went into the last eight of the competition by dumping the holders out of the contest.

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Thor Zakariassen