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Saturday, 8 December, 2001, 16:55 GMT
Liverpool outclass Boro
Michael Owen fires Liverpool's first goal
Michael Owen scored his 99th goal for Liverpool

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Liverpool 2-0 Middlesbrough

Liverpool went six points clear at the top of the Premiership with an emphatic win over Middlesbrough.

The Reds dominated the match and deservedly won through goals from Michael Owen - the 99th of his Liverpool career - and Patrik Berger.

Boro were outplayed and did not have a shot on goal until the start of the second half.

Liverpool's caretaker boss Phil Thompson started with England internationals Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey on the bench.

27 mins: Michael Owen puts Liverpool ahead with a 25-yard screamer
45 mins: Patrik Berger extends the lead with a searing left-footed shot
Berger and Jari Litmanen came in and played important parts in Liverpool's victory.

The home side, with Dietmar Hamann and Danny Murphy to the fore, comfortably won the midfield battle and Boro's Paul Ince endured a miserable return to his former club.

Boro's cause was hardly helped when their keeper Mark Crossley was stretchered off early in the first half with a facial injury.

He had dived at Gary McAllister's feet to deny the Scotsman.

His replacement, Marlon Beresford, could do little to stop Owen scoring in the 27th minute.

Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Crossley is carried off with a head injury
Mark Crossley is carried off
Murphy broke from Liverpool's area before Berger laid the ball off to Owen, who struck a magnificent 25-yard shot into the net.

Berger extended the lead shortly before half-time.

He was fed by Litmanen and took a touch before hitting a left-foot shot wide of Beresford.

We are top and you can't argue with that - we showed a great attitude because it is easy to dip in form after a European match
Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson
Boro boss Steve McClaren brought Hamilton Ricard and Mark Wilson on for Szilard Nemeth and Allan Johnston at half-time and his side improved slightly.

Alen Boksic, who was Boro's only real threat, had their first shot at the start of the second half.

He brilliantly turned Hyypia and outpaced him before hitting an angled shot that Jerzy Dudek saved with his legs.

But Liverpool soon resumed control of the match.

We didn't keep the ball up front and that caused us a lot of problems. We set ourselves higher standards than that
Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren
Owen desperately attempted to score his 100th goal for the club and shot high over the crossbar from one good opportunity.

In the end it did not matter, as Liverpool coasted to another victory.

Liverpool: Dudek, Henchoz, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Murphy, Berger, Hamann, McAllister, Owen, Litmanen. Subs: Heskey, Gerrard, Kirkland, Biscan, Wright.

Middlesbrough: Crossley, Southgate, Ehiogu, Cooper, Queudrue, Mustoe, Greening, Ince, Johnston, Boksic, Nemeth. Subs: Okon, Beresford, Ricard, Wilson, Gavin.

Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).

BBC Sport's Charlie Lambert
"This was another good Anfield day"
Liverpool assistant manger Phil Thompson
"From start to finish, the lads were magnificent"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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