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BBC Sport's Stuart Hall reports from Anfield
"This was a game for the egghead, the student, the tactician"
 real 14k

Middlesbrough head coach Terry Venables
"Second-half I felt we made a couple of mistakes"
 real 56k

Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier
"Sometimes we need to be a bit more cunning"
 real 56k

Saturday, 20 January, 2001, 18:18 GMT
Boro frustrate Liverpool
Ince and Carragher do battle in midfield
Ince and Carragher do battle in midfield
Liverpool 0-0 Middlesbrough

Liverpool were frustrated at Anfield by Middlesbrough - as they continued their Premier League revival under Terry Venables.

In an entertaining goal-less draw, Liverpool were guilty of easy misses, with Michael Owen the chief culprit as Boro clung on for a point.

But no one could begrudge Boro a point after the Teessiders battled from the off to remain unbeaten under Venables.

It is more a matter of confidence for Michael, he missed a chance at Crystal Palace and now it's happened here
  Gerard Houllier
The first half belonged to Middlesbrough who looked a different team under the guidance of former England boss Venables.

They have not been beaten for eight games and have kept a clean sheet in six of those matches.

Liverpool's first chance came as early as the eighth minute when Vladimir Smicer rode a tackle and put in an inch perfect cross but Steven Gerrard hit the shot into the ground and it looped up into Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer's hands.

At the other end, Christian Karembeu and Alen Boksic were linking up well, with both players testing Liverpool 'keeper Sander Westerveld a number of times.

Although struggling for possession, Liverpool had the best chances with Gerrard and then Emile Heskey in the 25th minute guilty of missing decent chances.

Top drawer

Heskey's shot hit the post but he should have done better.

Smicer again caused problems with a run. He crossed the ball which found Jamie Carragher, who met it on the run and fired a 20-yarder that Schwarzer saved well to his left.

Boro also showed they meant business with Boksic rolling back the years to beat three players but his shot was well wide.

Just before half-time the Croatian striker beat the offside trap and it called for a top drawer save from Westerveld to keep the scores level going into the interval.

Boksic and Hyypia vy for the ball
Boksic and Hyypia vy for the ball
Liverpool were finding it harder to find space as a confident-looking Boro sat with nine or 10 men behind the ball, making sure that creative players like Smicer and Litmanen were tightly marked.

After the break, Owen was brought on in place of Heskey.

Minutes later, Owen was clean through when he leaped on to a poorly played back pass but under pressure, he shot wide to the disdain of the home fans.

We outplayed them first half and should have gone in 2-0 up
  Terry Venables
Owen had another chance to put Liverpool ahead but again failed to convert when one-on-one with Schwarzer.

He had a hat-trick of misses when Schwarzer pulled off a fantastic save to deny the England striker once again.

The noise levels rose even higher when Robbie Fowler, who had been out of favour recently, was given another chance to redeem himself. Nick Barmby made way for the Anfield favourite.

In the end Boro held Liverpool for a priceless point as they continue their dramatic turnaround and climb up the table.

Liverpool: Westerveld, Babbel, Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Gerrard, Hamann, Litmanen, Smicer, Barmby, Heskey. Subs: Fowler, Owen, Murphy, McAllister, Nielsen.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Ehiogu, Festa, Vickers, Fleming, Karembeu, Gordon, Okon, Ince, Boksic, Whelan. Subs: Mustoe, Deane, Stamp, Crossley, Cooper.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol)

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