After The Match 


Liverpool-Middlesbrough 1-1 (0-1)      Sat Apr 30.      Premier League 
Goals: Gerrard (52)                 Nemeth (4)
Team: Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Pellegrino, Warnock, Riise, Gerrard, Alonso, Kewell, Nunez, Morientes
Subs: Garcia (Pellegrino 46), Cisse (Nunez 73),
Hamann (Warnock 84)
Not used: Carson, Hyypia
Yellow: Nunez (29), Garcia (74)    
Doriva (58), Parlour (72), Zenden (82)
Red: None
Referee: Phil Dowd
Attendance: 43,250

                            MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 6-3
Shots off target: 6-3
Fouls conceded: 10-20
Corners: 7-4
Yellow: 2-3




HEADLINES "I promise it will
be a different
game on Tuesday..."

          Rafael Benitez
3004: Benitez furious and mystified
3004: McLaren hopeful of Euro spot
3004: Reds held by Boro


Benitez furious and mystified

ITV Football

Rafael Benitez was left fuming yet again by another disappointing Liverpool display against Middlesbrough that has further damaged their hopes of claiming fourth spot in the Premiership.

Even word from Craven Cottage that Everton were losing to Fulham could not inspire the sort of Liverpool display against Boro that would have cut the points gap.

And the 1-1 draw was of more use to Boro, who, claimed manager Steve McClaren, are "in pole position for Europe now".

But Benitez's face mirrored the angry one seen last weekend when his side lost at Crystal Palace.

He said: "I am very unhappy, very frustrated because the result is not good. The positives are that we have one more point but one less game and we saw a fantastic goal from Steven Gerrard.

"But we only played to our potential for 20 minutes in the second half. The rest of the game was stop-start with bookings, free-kicks and delays.

"That is why I am unhappy. I honestly don't know why we cannot play well after a European game. There will have to be lots of changes for next season."

Liverpool now face Chelsea on Tuesday in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, the tie poised at 0-0 with a final in Istanbul next month the prize.

Benitez added: "I promise it will be a different game on Tuesday, a different kind of game and I hope to see far more than we showed this time.

"I made changes but we had 11 good players out there, and thankfully we have no more injury concerns.

"But games like this are always very difficult for us. It always seems to happen after a Champions League game and we need to change for the future.

"This is the third time recently we have failed to take advantage of an Everton slip-up. We knew they were losing at half-time."

McClaren hopeful of Euro spot

By Peter ORourke - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren believes his side are in "pole position" to qualify for Europe after their 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

The point at Anfield consolidated Middlesbrough's spot in seventh place and the final Uefa Cup berth.

McClaren hailed his side's performance in the draw and he believes it will go a long way to securing European qualification for the club.

"For the first half our performance was outstanding, probably the best ever at Anfield for me," beamed McClaren.

"We defended well, scored a good goal and deserved to be ahead at the break.

"We expected an onslaught and that is what we got, but it took a wonder goal to stop us and once we got a grip after that we were in control.

"We had five across the middle and could have caught them on the break again.

"We are now in pole position for Europe. Everybody in our dressing room really wants it and they are showing a great attitude and determination.

"It was a fantastic display by them all."

Reds held by Boro

By Peter ORourke - Sky Sports

Liverpool's UEFA Champions League hopes took another blow after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Middlesbrough.

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard struck in the second half with a spectacular goal to cancel out Szilard Nemeth's early opener and deny Middlesbrough all three points.

The draw leaves Liverpool three points behind Everton in the race for a Champions League spot, while Middlesbrough remain on course for Europe by consolidating their position in seventh spot.

Middlesbrough made a dream start to the game breaking the deadlock after just four minutes in their first serious attack.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink laid the ball into the path of Szilard Nemeth and the Slovakian striker easily held off Mauricio Pellegrino before curling his shot beyond Jerzy Dudek.

Liverpool were enjoying plenty of possession, but were lacking a cutting edge in attack with Harry Kewell and Fernando Morientes, failing to trouble the Middlesbrough defence.

The home side came close to equalising on 19 minutes when John Arne Riise rose above Boro keeper Brad Jones to meet Antonio Nunez's right-wing cross and was unlucky to see his header fly over the crossbar.

The Norwegian looked the most likely to score for Liverpool and he forced Jones into a save on 28 minutes with a fierce volley from the edge of the box, which the keeper spilled and was then relieved to see the Middlesbrough defence clear to safety.

Riise tried his luck again with another long-range volley on 31 minutes which flew just wide of the target.

Middlesbrough were happy to sit back and try and hit Liverpool on the break and Doriva saw a dangerous shot from the edge of the box deflected over the top on 35 minutes.

From the resulting corner Liverpool had a lucky escape when Franck Queudrue flicked Boudewijn Zenden's corner right across the six-yard box and the ball bounced off Pellegrino before being collected by Dudek.

Jamie Carragher came to Liverpool's rescue three minutes before the break when Nemeth beat the Liverpool offside trap to race clear on goal, but Carragher got back in time to prevent the Slovakian's cross reaching the unmarked Hasselbaink in front of goal.

Liverpool had a half chance a minute before half time when Kewell got to the byline and cut the ball back to Nunez who hit his shot into the side-netting.

The home side came out for the second half in determined fashion and should have drawn level right after the restart when Morientes unmarked got on the end of Xabi Alonso's inviting cross from the right, but the Spanish international knocked his header wide of the target.

Half time substitute Luis Garcia came close to scoring on 49 minutes with his first touch of the game when he got on the end of Steve Finnan's cross to power a header goalwards which Jones did well to palm over the crossbar.

Liverpool did draw level on 52 minutes with a spectacular long-range strike and goal of the season contender from Gerrard.

There looked to be very little danger for Middlesbrough when Gerrard picked the ball up fully 30 yards, but on the half volley the Liverpool skipper sent in a superb swerving shot which flew past Jones and into the top corner to bring the home crowd to life.

Liverpool really had the bit between their teeth and Ugo Ehiogu got in a vital challenge to prevent Kewell heading Alonso's cross into the net.

From the resulting corner the ball broke to Riise wide on the left and he sent in a superb cross which Morientes flicked just wide of the far post.

Kewell twice called his compatriot Jones into the action just after the hour mark with his first shot from 30 yards being spilled by Jones and then two minutes later the keeper batted away his powerful shot from inside the box round the post.

From the resulting corner Garcia wasted a good opening when he met Gerrard's corner unmarked inside the box, but he sent his header well over the crossbar.

The impressive Gareth Southgate made a vital tackle on 75 minutes to prevent Morientes getting through onto Garcia's pass inside the box.

Liverpool had a scare when Gerrard went down under a challenge from Zenden, but after receiving treatment he was able to carry on much to the relief of the home bench with next Tuesday's Champions League clash in mind.

backbutton.gif (1697 bytes)

Thor Zakariassen