Liverpool beat Middlesbrough 2-0 to stay fourth

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Liverpool beat Middlesbrough 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday with a Danny Murphy penalty and a goal by Emile Heskey.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Liverpool beat Middlesbrough 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday with a Danny Murphy penalty and a goal by Emile Heskey. A spirited 'Boro defence, especially by keeper Mark Schwarzer, ensured that Liverpool were denied in the first half. But the home side scored two quick goals at the start of the second and Boro' could not respond. Liverpool made one change from the side that won last weekend at Manchester United, with the more creative Vladimir Smicer replacing Steve Finnan in midfield for the visit of Middlesbrough to Anfield. Harry Kewell, without a goal now in 12 games, kept his place as the support striker for Michael Owen ahead of Emile Heskey and Milan Baros. Three times in the opening three minutes Kewell could have scored. Twice he saw Mark Schwarzer make flying saves to beat out rising drives, and then he missed connecting with a Jamie Carragher cross by inches. Michael Owen also went close, first with a scooped effort from Smicer's cross that was deflected over, and then on 13 minutes with a low angled drive that cannoned off the far post. But Boro weathered the early storm and Chris Riggott and Ugo Ehiogu were looking sound at the back, while Bolo Zenden was beginning to cause all sorts of trouble down the left. The score, however, remained nil-nil at half-time. Liverpool lost Stephane Henchoz and Smicer through injury at the break, with Finnan and Heskey replacing them. In the second half, Liverpool began at full throttle, with Owen seeing two close-range efforts blocked by Schwarzer. Then, on 48 minutes, the striker was bundled over in the box by Riggott and referee Andy D'Urso instantly pointed to the spot. Owen declined the chance to convert the penalty, so Danny Murphy stepped up confidently to clip his shot past Schwarzer for his second spot-kick in successive games. In the 51st minute, Kewell laid a neat ball into Owen's stride and in a congested box the striker's touch set up Heskey, who slammed the ball home to make it 2-0. Eight minutes from time, Michael Ricketts replaced Joseph-Desire Job, but by now Liverpool had smothered Boro's spirited response to conceding those two quick goals at the beginning of the half. At the final whistle it was 2-0 to Liverpool. Liverpool host Newcastle on the last day of the season in what looks likely to decide who makes the Champions League qualifying round. (AP)

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