Liverpool 2 Middlesbrough 0
Report of match 2nd May 2004
Reporter Footymad Previewer
Post match analysis of the match against Liverpool
Liverpool inched ever closer to securing Champions League football next season after their comprehensive victory over a lacklustre Middlesbrough.
Strikes by Old Trafford penalty hero Danny Murphy and Emile Heskey saw the Merseyside outfit move back into that all-important fourth place.
The home side made an instant impact on the game with Australian winger Harry Kewell having the first attempt at goal inside 90 seconds.
A noisy Kop End - celebrating ten years since the famous stand was rebuilt - vented their anger at referee Andy D'Urso when appeals for a penalty were ignored as Murphy was brought down.
Boro's first shot came from Joseph-Desire Job, but the away side were denied an early lead as the strike was easily caught by Jerzy Dudek.
Gerard Houllier's men were given a free-kick after Murphy was again brought down by Boudewijn Zenden right outside the penalty box. But Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer easily caught Murphy's kick.
Liverpool were denied a 33rd minute goal from Harry Kewell after a linesman wrongly ruled offside. Video evidence was later to prove this was not the case.
The home side emerged after half-time with two changes and substitutes Emile Heskey and Steve Finnan injected some much needed pace.
The Reds were gifted a penalty four minutes after the restart when England striker Michael Owen was brought down by Chris Riggott in the area.
Murphy again stepped up to the penalty spot to score his second in two games, with a measured strike the Boro keeper could do nothing to save.
The revitalised Reds were rewarded with a second goal in five minutes after a spectacular strike by the in-form Heskey.
Owen should have made it 3-0 with a goal of his own in the dying seconds of the game, but was denied by Boro captain Ugo Ehiogu.
If Houllier's men continue with the spectacular form demonstrated here they look certain to secure fourth and take their place in the Champions League next season.
|Competition: Barclaycard Premiership Date: Sunday, 2nd May 2004 Kick off: 16:05 Venue: Anfield|
Murphy 50 (pen)
|2 - 0||Middlesbrough
|18||John Arne Riise||6|
|2||Stephane Henchoz (Heskey 46)||6|
|11||Vladimir Smicer (Finnan 46)||6|
|3||Steve Finnan (Smicer 46)||6|
|8||Emile Heskey (Henchoz 46)||7|
|5||Chris Riggott (Downing 64)||6|
|9||Massimo Maccarone (Nemeth 64)||5|
|16||Joseph-Desire Job (Ricketts 82)||6|
|19||Stewart Downing (Riggott 64)||5|
|17||Michael Ricketts (Job 82)|
|8||Szilard Nemeth (Maccarone 64)||6|
|Liverpool cards shown|
|7 mins||Steven Gerrard||Dissent|
|Middlesbrough cards shown|
|52 mins||Danny Mills||Unsporting behaviour|