Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier was left ruing
another penalty decision against them after a goalless
draw at Middlesbrough.
The game at The Riverside had little to offer in the way
of chances or exciting football, with the shout for a
penalty the biggest event of the 90 minutes.
Franck Queudrue slid in on substitute Florent
Sinama-Pongolle just as the young Frenchman was baring
down on Mark Schwarzer's goal, but referee Phil Dowd
waved away vigorous shouts for a spot-kick.
Houllier believes it was a penalty and was disappointed
not to be given the decision, in a similar incident to
what occurred towards the end of the Manchester United
"I think it was a cast iron penalty," said Houllier.
"When you see the replay you see he hit the player's leg
and didn't touch the ball at all.
"So we think it should have been a penalty.
"We think the referee and linesman got it wrong, but
that happens in football but maybe too often for us
lately but we have to accept that and keep going on.
"In the last two games we have had penalties turned
Houllier thought his side just about deserved the win,
adding: "We deserved the win a bit more than they did.
"We lacked a clinical finish at times, we didn't have a
lot of chances although we know we could have done
better with the chances we had.
"It was difficult to score past them because they are
very compact and they work hard.
"I was pleased that we were very disciplined and we
played as a team, I don't think they had many chances
even though they were the home side."
with a point
Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren was happy with
his side's point against Liverpool in their goalless
draw at The Riverside.
McClaren has seen his side recover from a poor start and
he was happy with another good defensive display against
Gerard Houllier's side.
"Certainly, looking at the incidents during the game, it
was a good performance from our team against a quality,
top-four team," said McClaren.
"We've battled against them and it was never going to be
a game with many chances.
"They've got quality players throughout their team but
we played well and limited them to few chances.
"It continues our revival up the league.
"We are now getting respect and sides know that they are
not going to get an easy game when they play against
Houllier was insistent that Liverpool should have had a
penalty when Franck Queudrue seemed to make no contact
with the ball when sliding in on Florent Sinama-Pongolle
inside the box.
No penalty was given despite appeals from the visitors,
and McClaren was naturally happy with the decision.
"It looks as though Franck got the ball and it should
have been a corner," said McClaren.
"But it wasn't given and it went our way."
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool and Middlesbrough played out a goalless
draw at the Riverside in a game where defences were on
The result does nothing for the visitors' continued
claims that they are genuine championship contenders.
But they rarely looked like earning a win as
Middlesbrough's resolute backline helped them to a
fourth consecutive clean sheet in the league
Liverpool started brightly with Colin Cooper having to
pull off a perfectly-timed sliding tackle to prevent
Emile Heskey from a goalscoring opportunity.
Fit-again Juninho started to exert his influence for
Middlesbrough, but could not control the ball when
Boudewijn Zenden's driven shot rebounded to him.
For all the intricate play however, there was precious
little goalmouth incident until the half-hour when
Juninho sent Gaizka Mendieta in on Chris Kirkland's
The Spaniard looked favourite to score but Djimi Traore
appeared behind him and stretched out a leg to poke the
Referee Phil Dowd was on the spot to turn down the
crowd's penalty claims.
Michael Owen had handed Liverpool manager Gerard
Houllier a boost before the start by declaring himself
fit for the game.
But he was kept quiet by a combination of Cooper and
Gareth Southgate and when he did find some space a bad
first touch allowed the ball to skid away from him.
Liverpool were slightly brighter after the break and
came close when Owen linked up with Kewell.
The Australian's cross looked perfect for Heskey but he
missed it by inches and Schwarzer cleared with his legs.
Owen was withdrawn with about 20 minutes to go and his
replacement Florent Sinama-Pongolle brought a breath of
fresh air to the Reds' frontline.
He had a chance to break the deadlock but instead fired
over after Schwarzer had spilled a cross.
Liverpool threw caution to the wind in the dying stages
and Sinama-Pongolle looked to have been brought down in
the area by Franck Queudrue but Dowd was unimpressed.
And Middlesbrough's defence duly held firm to extend
their run without conceding a goal in the Premiership to