Liverpool 2 Middlesbrough 1

Last updated : 23 August 2008 By Footymad Previewer
Steven Gerrard fired home a late winner as Liverpool came from behind to sink Middlesbrough at Anfield.

The skipper rescued his side in the dying minutes after Jamie Carragher had cancelled out Mido's second-half strike.

But it was a far from a convincing performance from the Reds, who could easily have slumped to a shock defeat to Gareth Southgate's men.

Rafa Benitez's side started poorly and the match went into the interval in a stalemate after a mediocre first half.

Smart work between Xabi Alonso, Dirk Kuyt and Fernando Torres forced Boro keeper Ross Turnbull - replacing Brad Jones who was injured during the warm up - into action after two minutes, but Liverpool failed to carry the momentum.

Middlesbrough left-back Andrew Taylor created the away team's first effort after 12 minutes with a long-range shot that Pepe Reina tipped over the bar.

Their best spell of game came after 20 minutes with a neat pass and move play deep in the Liverpool half.

The home side demonstrated some sparks of training-ground like passing routines of their own on several occasions - the best being after 36 minutes when a Torres-Robbie Keane one-two earned a corner.

The Reds' Italian full-back Andrea Dossena supplied several deep crosses into the penalty area but looked average in defence and was caught out more than once.

Liverpool came out after the break with slightly more drive and new boy Keane was noticeably more involved.

It was the Irishman who won a free-kick just before the hour mark. Gerrard blasted the ball against the Middlesbrough wall and deflected out for a corner which was duly wasted.

Egyptian striker Mido, who had been on the pitch for barely ten minutes, broke the deadlock on 70 minutes with a rasping effort from outside the box that finished in the bottom right corner of Reina's net.

The goal sparked a dull encounter into life as 16 minutes later the afternoon was taken from the clutches of the north east team.

An equaliser came thanks to a rare Carragher shot from the edge of the box that deflected off Boro captain Emanuel Pogatetz and into the back net.

The Reds finally upped their gear in the final five minutes and pressed for a winner.

Their late efforts were rewarded when captain Gerrard rocketed home an angled shot from 20 yards out in the final moments to secure an undeserved three points for his side.