keeping feet on ground
By James Pearson - Planet Football/Sky Sports
Steve McClaren is keeping his feet on the ground
after Middlesbrough saw off Liverpool 2-0 at The
The win keeps the North East side in fourth place in The
Premiership and moves the team to within eight points of
Goals from Chris Riggott and Boudewijn Zenden put the
visitors in control, although Liverpool felt aggrieved
after Luis Garcia's goal was ruled out for offside.
"We've made a good start over the first 14 games," said
McClaren. "We're up there and we're up there on merit.
"But we don't get carried away here. If we're in the
same position with 10 games to go, we might start to get
"The way we were playing, we were always going to be
capable of scoring goals.
"We said before the game, and we always say it, to win
football matches, you need to score two goals and we
felt today we would need to score two goals.
"It nearly proved that way, but Mark Schwarzer.... you
talk about defining moments in games, and that was one
of them because it was a magnificent save.
"If they'd have equalised then, it might have been a
different game. We gained from that and went on.
"We beat a very good team today. Despite all their
injuries, they're still a very good team."
rues Boro defeat
By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was unhappy with referee
Steve Bennett as his side fell to a 2-0 defeat to
Boro picked up three points with goals in each half from
Chris Riggott and Boudewijn Zenden.
Benitez felt his side were harshly disallowed a goal by
Luis Garcia in the first half with the score at 1-0 and
that Zenden's crucial second was offside.
"We scored and they scored today, but the referee said
yes to them and no to us," bemoaned Benitez.
"I feel Garcia's goal should have stood because the ball
appeared to come off a Middlesbrough defender before it
"I'm not sure about Zenden's goal either. Maybe that was
offside but it was very close.
"We started well for the first 20 minutes. We had plenty
of space and some possibilities but after that spell
they controlled the game. We didn't clear the ball
properly and that cost us.
"Once you lose goals it makes it more difficult because
it means you have to attack quicker and then they are
more dangerous on the break."
Gerrard return not enough
BBC Sport Online
Steven Gerrard's long-awaited return to Premiership
action was not enough to prevent Middlesbrough earning a
deserved victory over Liverpool.
A goal in each half from Chris Riggott and Boudewijn
Zenden overshadowed Gerrard's return as a second-half
substitute after eight weeks out.
Riggott netted from close range on 27 minutes after
Stewart Downing's cross.
And Zenden finished well after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's
pass on 61 minutes, with Liverpool claiming he was
Boro took the chance to avenge their Carling Cup defeat
to the Reds earlier in November with an assured
performance, never allowing Liverpool to settle.
Yet a cagey opening produced little in the way of
It took 17 minutes for Boro to fashion their first
chance, with Ray Parlour surging into the box, but his
cross was expertly headed away by Jamie Carragher.
That sparked a Liverpool break which culminated in a
Steve Finnan shot which Schwarzer got down well to save.
At the other end, Mark Viduka produced a sublime
backheel to Parlour, and the midfielder's low cross just
missed Franck Queudrue.
Boro were beginning to establish some supremacy, and
were inches away from taking the lead after 27 minutes,
when Queudrue headed just over from Downing's free-kick.
Chris Kirkland also had to save well from close range
from Hasselbaink and George Boateng shot over as the
home team pressed.
And they grabbed the goal their play deserved on 38
minutes when Downing crossed perceptively for Riggott,
who was unmarked as he tapped in from five yards.
That was with 35 minutes on the clock, and Liverpool
thought they had squared the match two minutes later,
although Luis Garcia was judged offside.
The goal prompted a good response from Liverpool, and
Kewell will be disappointed to have sent the ball over
from close range after Carragher's cross.
But Boro still threatened, and Viduka shot just wide
after the ball fortuitously ricocheted to him inside the
Liverpool were almost level within three minutes of the
restart, but Schwarzer produced a remarkable instinctive
save to deflect Kewell's point-blank header over the
Gerrard made his return to Premiership action in the
57th minute as a substitute for Dietmar Hamann.
And his first touch almost led to a goal, as a delicate
free-kick into the box eventually fell to Luis Garcia,
whose volley whistled past the post.
Yet it was Boro who were celebrating a controversial
second on 61 minutes, as Zenden finished smartly after
Hasselbaink's through pass - although there was more
than a hint of offside about the goal.
Liverpool kept grafting, and substitute striker Florent
Sinama-Pongolle sent the ball just wide at the end of a
promising move, while Kewell also missed from a tight
angle after taking the ball wide of Schwarzer.
Boro remained in control, however, and Hasselbaink shot
wide from 20 yards late on, while Luis Garcia shot wide
from a great position for Liverpool in the closing