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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 22:44 GMT
Boro hold Liverpool
Middlesbrough celebrate Geremi's goal
Boro's last away league goal was in September
Liverpool 1-1 Middlesbrough

John Arne Riise salvaged a point for Liverpool after a superb Geremi free-kick had threatened to give Middlesbrough their first away win since September.

With Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier missing the game through gastro-enteritis, his side showed few signs of shrugging off their own recent sickly form.

I can't believe we didn't get more than a point

Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson

Having been dumped out of the FA Cup by Crystal Palace on Wednesday, Liverpool lacked inspiration against a side that has now picked up just five points away from home.

So woeful have Boro been on their travels that the last time Steve McClaren's side scored was in that 3-0 away victory at Spurs at the end of September.

Geremi put an end to that miserable statistic, curling a wonderful free kick over the Liverpool wall and past Jerzy Dudek's outstretched hand.

Sami Hyppia had given away the free kick when he fouled Jonathan Greening.

Late in the game the Cameroonian almost grabbed a second, but was denied by a Dudek's reaction save.

The most important thing was the performance, showing character and attitude

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren

Liverpool's misfiring attack - so evident against Palace - was again evident in the closing stages of the opening half when Owen headed wide with just Mark Schwarzer to beat.

Soon after the restart Owen showed a more assured touch with a deft chip that Schwarzer had to tip over the bar.

On 74 minutes more good work from Owen down the left created the opening for Riise, who drilled the ball past Schwarzer.

Riise was Liverpool's most impressive player, with his drive down the left and shooting power providing Boro with plenty of problems.

Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson
Phil Thompson took charge in Houllier's absence

With Chris Riggott making his debut in a five-man Boro defence, initially the visitors were content to sit back and soak up Liverpool's attacks.

They were sporadic - a Riise volley and a Hyypia header were the best Liverpool could offer before Geremi gave Boro the lead.

That wonderful goal shook the game out of its torpor and twice in quick succession Schwarzer had to react quickly to save shots from Riise and El-Hadji Diouf.

At the restart Milan Baros replaced the injured Heskey and the Czech Republic striker brought a more direct approach to the Liverpool attack.

On 54 minutes Baros cut in from the left and arrowed a shot that went just wide.


Liverpool: Dudek, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Riise, Diouf, Murphy, Hamann, Smicer (Diao 60), Heskey (Baros 45), Owen.
Subs not used: Arphexad, Cheyrou, Traore.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Cooper, Southgate, Riggott, Stockdale, Geremi, Boateng, Greening, Murphy, Job (Christie 45), Ricketts, Christie (Eustace 87).
Subs not used: Crossley, Nemeth, Maccarone.
Booked: Riggott, Eustace. Attendance: 42,247

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"The storm isn't over for Liverpool"
Liverpool coach Phil Thompson
"We should have won the game"
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