Middlesbrough 0-3 Liverpool: Adam Lallana stars as Reds return to form
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 15/12/16 6:52am
Adam Lallana scored twice and set up another as Liverpool beat Middlesbrough 3-0 at the Riverside on Wednesday night.
The England midfielder put Liverpool ahead in the first half with a far post header from Nathaniel Clyne's deep cross, before Divock Origi added a second after the break from close range after Lallana's cross.
Lallana was at it again on 68 minutes, firing home from inside the area after Origi had returned the favour, and it stayed at 3-0 as Liverpool picked up a vital three points.
The result means Liverpool are six points behind leaders Chelsea, who won at Sunderland, but back into second after Arsenal's defeat by Everton on Tuesday. Boro are 17th, three points clear of the drop zone.
Jurgen Klopp named goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in the starting line up in place of the much-criticised Loris Karius, while Ragnar Klavan replaced Joel Matip in defence.
Mignolet was forced into action after an opening 25 minutes of little chances, getting down low to his left to hold Ben Gibson's header from a cross.
Lallana gave Liverpool the lead on 28 minutes with his fifth goal of the season, getting on the end of Clyne's fine right-wing cross to head the ball into the ground and past Victor Valdes at the far post.
Boro reacted well, Viktor Fischer forcing Mignolet into a good one-handed save from an angle, before Adam Forshaw saw a shot from just inside the area blocked well by Dejan Lovren after fine work from Adama Traore on the right.
Liverpool nearly went into the break with a two-goal cushion through Sadio Mane, who hit the right-hand post with a low effort after Origi had released him one-on-one with defender Gibson.
The visitors raced out of the blocks in the second half, Mane forcing a save out of Valdes before the forward again saw his effort blocked by Callum Chambers, but it was soon 2-0 to Liverpool.
After Lallana was released down the right flank, his centre found Origi on the gallop for the Belgian to fire it into the bottom corner, his fifth goal in five games.
Origi turned provider with 22 minutes remaining, cutting the ball back to Lallana 12 yards out, and the midfielder made no mistake with a simple finish into the top corner as Boro struggled to cover.
Mignolet had little to two in the second half, with Boro failing to get a shot on target, and Liverpool saw out the game for a much-needed three points having taken just one from the previous six available.
Middlesbrough: Valdes (6), Barragan (4), Chambers (5), Gibson (5), Fabio (5), Clayton (5), De Roon (5), Forshaw (5), Traore (6), Fischer (5), Negredo (5)
Subs: Downing (5), Rhodes (5), Leadbitter (5)
Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Clyne (7), Lovren (6), Klavan (7), Milner (6), Henderson (6), Wijnaldum (6), Lallana (9), Firmino (6), Mane (7), Origi (7)
Subs: Lucas (6), Alexander-Arnold (NA), Ejaria (NA)
Man of the match: Adam Lallana