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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 11:12 GMT
Thompson fires warning
John Arne Riise equalises for Liverpool in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough
Riise has scored six league goals this season
Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson admitted his players need to start scoring more if the club are to qualify for the Champions League.

Saturday's 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough leaves Liverpool, who last won at home in November, even further away from a potential 15m pot of Champions League cash.

We have had a bad January and we needed strengthening, which is what we did

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren

A superb Geremi first-half free-kick gave Middlesbrough the lead and Liverpool needed a late John Arne Riise goal to rescue a point.

"I felt the standard of football we produced under those circumstances was tremendous," said Thompson.

Thompson was standing in for Gerard Houllier, who had been stricken by a bout of gastro-enteritis.

Liverpool's assistant manager added: "We dominated the game, passed through them, but once again you think 'why haven't we scored a goal?'

"That's the issue and I felt for them, I felt for the players and the fans because it's a frustrating time for everyone.

"If we keep playing like this there's no doubt we will be out of this [rut], and we will be on a run right through to the end of the season.

Middlesbrough defender Chris Riggott
Riggott made his Boro debut

"There was a lot of positives. We defended well, we got through their packed midfield, we got round them, and we got to the line but the final ball just wasn't there."

Saturday's point was only the fifth Boro have won on their travels and Geremi's goal was the first time the team have scored in the league since September.

Boro boss Steve McClaren praised his side's defensive solidity with Colin Cooper, new boy Chris Riggott and Gareth Southgate magnificent at the back.

"He's a great pro, that was the kind of commitment we needed," said McClaren of Cooper, who played most of the second half with a knee injury.

"I felt the new lads, Riggott and Michael Ricketts, did really well, I felt we deserved the point.

"The goal we scored was outstanding. It took something as special as that to get the monkey off our backs regarding not scoring away.

"We have had a bad January and we needed strengthening, which is what we did."


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