Middlesbrough 0 Liverpool 0

Last updated : 18 November 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Liverpool have yet to win on their Premiership travels this season and fell even further behind Manchester United and Chelsea after drawing 0-0 with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

On the balance of play Boro should have won but once again they failed to provide a cutting edge in attack. Amazingly, Liverpool have yet to score in open play away from Anfield.

Middlesbrough put up a defiant defensive display and manager Gareth Southgate would have been happy with a point.

Mark Schwarzer was Boro's outstanding player and the Australian goalkeeper pulled off two or three brilliant saves.

Middlesbrough had only one scoring chance in the 90 minutes - ironically, it was the best of the game. However, Yakubu completely missed the ball after Jose Reina had made the initial save.

Boro were without the injured Stewart Downing and Southgate again began with a 4-5-1 formation. It was not an adventurous line-up but no doubt Southgate wanted to stifle Liverpool's attacking play.

The game attracted a crowd of over 30,000, the best at the Riverside Stadium this season.

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Bolo Zenden, a match-winning hero in the Carling Cup final against Bolton Wanderers at Cardiff, was on the visitors bench.

Middlesbrough had three players from their highly-rated Academy in their team with home-grown Jonathan Woodgate increasing the local talent.

Neither goalkeeper had a serious shot to save in the opening stages, even though Boro began with more enterprise than in the previous week's game against West Ham United.

Liverpool took some time to get into their stride although a long-range dipping effort by Mark Gonzalez landed on the roof of the net.

A minute later Dirk Kuyt had Liverpool's best scoring chance of the game but he shot wide after Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy had combined to create the opening.

Gonzalez was then high and wide with a shot from outside the penalty area.

Kuyt went down in the area and looked optimistically towards the referee for the penalty. Middlesbrough fans behind the goal were not happy with the Dutchman because there appeared to be no real physical contact.

Jermaine Pennant then fired in a shot on the turn for Liverpool but he was denied by Schwarzer at the foot of the post.

Liverpool began to control the midfield as half-time approached while Yakubu struggled as a lone striker as he received limited service.

Boro defender Andrew Davies was hurt shortly before half-time and was replaced for the second half by German international Robert Huth.

In the 52nd minute Yakubu missed a glorious chance after Jason Euell had forced Reina to push the ball out.

Schwarzer then came to Middlesbrough's rescue when Daniel Agger fired in a fierce shot from outside the penalty area.

It was backs to the wall for Boro at this stage with Liverpool probing for a breakthrough. Schwarzer was again forced into the action when he denied Gonzalez at the near post.

Boro skipper George Boateng was struggling and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Lee Cattermole.

There was a terrific cheer from the home crowd when Italian super sub Massimo Maccarone was introduced. The club's record £8million buy had no chance, however, to repeat his match-winning goal against West Ham.

In the final minutes Woodgate came to Middlesbrough's rescue when he headed off the goal-line from substitute Peter Crouch with Schwarzer beaten.

Liverpool would have been bitterly disappointed with the one-point return from their visit to the north-east.