Houl-Ing Up A Storm

A SUPERB first goal from Vegard Heggem sealed a tremendous win for Liverpool at what was becoming fortress Riverside.

No team had beaten Bryan Robson's Boro at home for 14 months but rampant Liverpool were great value for their fourth away win of the season.

McManaman was thrown on for the last 15 minutes after injury as competition for places in the Anfield side hots-up.

But boss Gerard Houllier dismissed Arsenal's interest in Fowler when he said: "He's not for sale - I want to keep him."

Fowler still has another 18 months of his contract to run and Houllier added: "I'm confident he'll sign another contract for us."

There was an uneasy start to the game for Liverpool as their defence was caught far too often by a slick moving Boro side.

But the visitors stepped up a gear to find some much needed fluency in their play.

Heggem made a forceful run and a pass for Owen who, cutting in from the right, saw his low drive kept out by Schwarzer.

Keeper James showed great speed and awareness to race from his goal to take the ball off the toes of Deane after the former Leeds striker had latched onto Festa's throughball.

After the first quarter, the game turned on two crucial headers from the forceful lnce

A clearance from James held up in the wind and Ince's misdirected header only succeeded in putting Ricard in the clear.

With 13 goals to his credit already this season, the Colombian looked odds on to add to that tally and although his first touch was poor he still got into a shooting position but clipped the ball over Jones and wide of the goal.

Two minutes later, Ince popped up at the other end to produce what was this time a clinical header resulting in the first goal.

He knocked Berger's corner back across the goalmouth and Carragher, pushing forward, deflected the ball low into the net.

Liverpool at times were living on their nerves and Boro equalised just past the half-hour mark. As ever Gascoigne was in the thick of the action, though terrible goalkeeping from James had much to do with Deane's fifth goal of the season.

James charged out to collect Gascoigne's cross but found himself in no man's land as Deane rose above Babb and planted a firm header into the empty net. Liverpool deservedly regained the lead five minutes later.

A magnificent 40-yard pass from Berger put Owen in the clear and the striker's pace was too much for the veteran Pallister.

Owen picked his moment but Schwarzer got down well to block only for Pallister to play the rebound straight into the arms of the keeper.

The referee immediately awarded a free kick in line with the penalty spot which was teed up by Ince for Redknapp to score with an unstoppable shot.

McManaman was then given the chance to show what he could do after injury when replacing Owen and the England winger quickly settled in and caused plenty of problems for the Boro rearguard.

But the third goal that Liverpool so rightly deserved came from the unlikely source of Heggem just before time.

The Norwegian international picked up the ball wide on the right just inside the Boro half.

But as the home defenders held back he forcefully went past four of them before nonchalantly flicking the ball over Scharwzer from ten yards for his first goal since joining the club from Rosenborg.

Man of the Match: JAMIE REDKNAPP... boss in midfield.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Schwarzer 6 - Cooper 7, Pallister (wdrn) 6, Vickers 6 - Festa 7, Townsend (wdrn) 6, Gascoigne 7, Madison (wdrn) 6, *GORDON 8 - Deane 6, Ricard 6. Subs: Fleming 6, Stamp 6, Beck.

LIVERPOOL: James 6 - Heggem 7, Staunton 7, Carragher 7, Babb 7 - *REDKNAPP (wdrn) 8, Ince 7, Berger 7, Bjornebye 6 - Owen (wdrn) 7, Fowler (wdrn) 6. Subs: Riedle 6, McManaman, Harkness.

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