Middlesbrough v Liverpool
Saturday 28 February 2009,
Middlesbrough drew 0-0 at home against Wigan Athletic in their last league outing, continuing a run of fourteen matches without a league win.
In their last five league matches, Middlesbrough have won none, drawn two (vs Wigan and Blackburn), and lost three (vs Manchester City, Chelsea and West Brom), earning only two points from the fifteen on offer.
In these matches, Boro failed to score a single goal and conceded six, as they currently sit 2nd last in 19th place, equal in points with 18th placed Blackburn and one point above last place West Brom.
Middlesbrough will be without Digard (knee), Riggott (knee) and Taylor (ankle).
Liverpool drew 0-0 at home against Manchester City in their last league outing, ending a run of two straight wins and earning themselves their fourth draw in their last six league encounters.
In their last five matches, Liverpool have won two (v Portsmouth and Chelsea) and drawn three (v Manchester City, Wigan and Everton), earning nine points from a possible fifteen.
The Reds scored eight goals and conceded four in these matches, as they currently sit 2nd place in the league, trailing league leaders Manchester United by seven points and leading 3rd placed Chelsea by three points.
Liverpool will be without Philipp Degen (metatarsal), although captain Steven Gerrard looks to feature in this match after coming on at the end of the Reds’ 1-0 Champions League first-leg win over Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Liverpool defeated Middlesbrough 2-1 earlier this season at Anfield, but the two sides drew 1-1 in last season’s corresponding fixture.
Both teams will be buoyed by their midweek results, with Middlesbrough defeating West Ham 2-0 in their fifth round FA Cup reply to book a spot in the final eight against Everton, and Liverpool earning a massive 1-0 away victory over Real Madrid in the first-leg of their Champions League fixture.
After dropping more vital points at home in their last league match, Liverpool will be absolutely eager not to slip up again in order to maintain any kind of realistic title chase with Manchester United now seven points clear of the Reds at the top of the ladder.
On the flip side of the ladder, Middlesbrough will be keen to escape from the relegation zone after some recent promising results which indicate that The Boro have what it takes to survive the season unscathed. A draw at home against one of the league’s high-flyers could be exactly what Middlesbrough need in order to springboard their survival chances and launch a fight out of the bottom three.
Still, with Boro holding the 3rd worst home record in the league and Liverpool the 3rd best on the road, it looks unlikely that the match will end up as anything but a Liverpool win. However, if Boro continue with the form they displayed in their last two matches and the Reds put in yet another unconvincing Premier League performance, there is a chance that, unlikely as it seems, this match could end up as a draw.
Read all the weekend previews here.