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Gerrard Stunner Completes Liverpool Comeback







Liverpool 2-1 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough came within five minutes of notching up their first win at Anfield in over three decades but defender Jamie Carragher’s fortunate deflected equalizer and Steven Gerrard’s injury time belter ensured Liverpool maintain their 100% start.


Boro can count themselves unlucky not to leave Merseyside with all three points. They went ahead against the run of play through a mesmerizing Mido strike on 69 minutes and Liverpool looked dead and buried as they struggled to even come close to scoring.

But Carragher’s speculative cross/shot was directed into the net by Emanuel Pogatetz with only five minutes to go and deep, deep into injury time, captain Gerrard conjured up another one of his typical humdingers to complete the miraculous comeback.

First Half

Boro’s bad luck began even before kick off when first choice goalkeeper Brad Jones injured himself during warm up, forcing his understudy Ross Turnbull to step in.

And the 23 year old was called into action after just two minutes when he had to fist the ball away from a Dirk Kuyt shot, teed up cleverly by Fernando Torress. Just moments later, Torres released Robbie Keane into space but the former Spurs man sliced his shot from 20 yards out as the ball bobbled out harmlessly.

Boro midfielder Mohamed Shawky decided to interject and stop the hosts’ early rampage when he unleashed a wild shot from the best parts of 30 yards out, but the ball sailed towards the roof of the Kop-end.

But it served its purpose as the game suddenly balanced out and Gareth Southgate’s men started enjoying a brief spell of possession.

And on 12 minutes, Andrew Taylor came close to handing the visitors the lead when he hammered in a vicious left-footed half volley on the 18 yard line but he was denied by Pepe Reina, who made a brilliant full stretch save to palm the ball over the bar.

Liverpool wrestled control back soon after but the scrap was focused firmly in midfield. Both sets of players were content to hit long balls and hopeful through passes for their strikers to latch on to.

Just before the half hour mark, Kuyt, Keane and Gerrard combined superbly with some rapid-fire, crisp passing that ended when the Dutchman squared the ball to the centre to the captain. But in his haste to connect with the cutback, the Reds midfielder clumsily barged into Pogatetz in the box and the referee rightly blew the foul against Liverpool.

Gerrard then struck a swerving missile from the edge of the area a minute later but there just wasn’t enough curve to direct it on target.

Stewart Downing then did superbly to wriggle his way past two defenders into the box but hopeless on his right foot, he smashed the end product well wide.

On 38 minutes, Keane sliced through two defenders of his own before slipping a lovely ball through to Torres but the Spaniard’s sidefooted attempt right infront of goal deflected off the legs of Pogatetz and trickled wide.

That would prove to be the last real chance of the first half and despite plenty of goal mouth action, neither side looked sharp enough to break the deadlock.

Second Half

The second period didn’t quite start off with the same intensity as the first. Keane provided a couple of pinpoint crosses from each flank but neither Torres nor Kuyt could apply the finish.

Rafa Benitez’s men continued to dominate possession and create openings but the likes of Gerrard, Alonso and Benayoun just struggled to get into their stride.

The best chance of the game came in the 61st minute when Mido charged down the left flank, held up the ball before threading it in for Sanli Tuncay, who flicked it audaciously over the shoulder of Jamie Carragher but his toe-poke volley slammed straight into Reina’s arms.

Gerrard then swept in a dangerous freekick from the left but Turnbull did well to charge through the crowd and punch it out before Torres let fly from 30 yards out with a searing piledriver but the ball just swerved away from goal at the last minute.

But Boro took a shock lead against the run of play on 70 minutes when Mido picked up a pass from Aliadiere, teed himself up nicely onto his left foot and thumped in an unstoppable low drive into the bottom corner of Reina’s goal.

The Reds almost equalized a minute later when Alonso’s corner found Skrtel, but the Slovakian’s header just flashed wide. The home sides then had a genuine claim for a penalty in the 78th minutes when Gerrard’s scorcher came off Huth’s arm as the German tried to block the shot but referee, Mike Riley, refused to consider pointing to the spot.

But Liverpool finally found their equalizer five minutes from time when Carragher drove in a cross-cum-shot and it took a wicked deflection off Pogatetz, sending Turnbull the wrong way.

Boro should have regained the lead when Reina completely messed up a simple clearance and allowed Aliadiere in but the Frenchman’s centre to Mido was intercepted brilliantly by a sliding Carragher challenge.

Four minutes into stoppage time, however, the Merseysiders struck the killer blow. Keane cushioned down a header for Gerrard and the captain nailed in a half volley on the edge of the box into the top left hand corner, sending the Anfield crowd into raptures.

LINE-UPS

Liverpool (4-4-2): Reina – Arbeloa (El Zhar 82’), Skrtel, Carragher, Dossena (Aurelio 74’) – Kuyt, Gerrard, Alonso, Benayoun (Babel 64’) – Keane, Torres

Unused subs: Cavalieri, Agger, Ngog, Plessis

Middlesbrough (4-4-1-1): Turnbull – Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, Taylor (Hoyte 74’) – Aliadiere, O’Neil, Shawky, Downing – Tuncay (Digard 86’) – Alves (Mido 60’)

Unused subs: Jones, Emnes, Johnson, Williams

GOALS

0-1: Middlesbrough (Mido 69’)

1-1: Liverpool (Carragher 85’)

2-1: Liverpool (Gerrard 90’+4)

BOOKINGS

Liverpool: Arbeloa (26’), Keane (77’)

Middlesbrough: Mido (78’)


The deadlock was eventually broken with a fabulous strike from Mido who hit a left footed rocket into the bottom corner.



70′ [0 - 1] Mido

86′ [1 - 1] Pogatetz ( Own Goal )

90′ [2 - 1] S. Gerrard









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Gerrard Stunner Completes Liverpool Comeback Reviewed by admin Ucop on 11:16 PM Rating: 5

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