Liverpool somehow won a match they never impressed in, with Steven Gerrard grabbing the three points with virtually the last kick of the game deep in injury time after Boro had lead through Mido’s strike in the 70th minute.
The Reds’ equaliser didn’t arrive until the 86th minute, courtesy of a deflected Jamie Carragher shot which appeared to go in off Boro captain Emanuel Pogatetz.
Some say winning ugly needs to be done if you are to be succesful in the Premier League, Liverpool certainly did that today. And scoring late winners is another trait of many title winning sides; Man United in the 90’s and Liverpool themselves in the 80’s – that’s 2 opening games which have seen Rafa Benitez’s side somehow snatch a winner with last week’s at Sunderland and today at Anfield.
BBC Sport Report
Striker Mido came off the bench to put the visitors ahead with a low, 30-yard drive on 70 minutes and it seemed his side were heading for victory.
But Jamie Carragher’s drive from the edge of the box flew in off Boro’s Emmanuel Pogatetz to give Liverpool an equaliser 16 minutes later.
And in stoppage time, Gerrard lashed in an angled shot to snatch the points.
It was a game Boro will feel desperately disappointed to have lost.
A combination of dogged defending and discipline had kept the home side at bay and when Mido put them in front they looked on their way to their first victory at Anfield for 23 years.
Few would have predicted it after a first half which saw Liverpool struggle to break down their opponents and barely threaten young keeper Ross Turnbull, who was drafted in after Brad Jones was injured in the warm-up.
Turnbull comfortably beat away an early Dirk Kuyt drive, but was then helped out by a number of last-ditch tackles and blocks that frustrated Liverpool.
Robbie Keane mis-kicked from the edge of the box when should have done much better, while at the other end Boro’s Andrew Taylor fizzed in a volley which was heading for the top corner until Pepe Reina tipped it over the bar.
After the break, the pattern was much the same, with Boro keeping their shape and trying to hit Liverpool on the counter-attack.
It looked like their their tactics were spot-on when Mido scored with a peach of a shot to put them in front.
Unsurprisingly, Boro then looked to sit back on their advantage and though Liverpool had more space in which to come forward, they did not look dangerous.
But then it all changed, and from an unexpected source, as Carragher tried his luck from the edge of the box and while his luck was good, Pogatez’s was not and the ball flew in off the unfortunate defender.
With the scores level, it was inevitable that Boro were going to have to withstand a Liverpool assault in the final minutes to go home with anything from the game.
As time ran out, it seemed they had done enough but a long ball clipped over the top by Xabi Alonso broke to Gerrard and he arrowed a fierce shot into the top corner to snatch the win for his side.
Post Match Interviews Benitez, Southgate and Gerrard
Teams and Stats
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa (El Zhar 83), Carragher, Skrtel, Dossena (Aurelio 75), Kuyt, Alonso, Gerrard, Benayoun (Babel 65), Keane, Torres
Subs not used: Cavalieri, Agger, Ngog, Plessis
Booked: Arbeloa (27), Keane (78)
Goals: Pogatetz (og. 86), Gerrard (90+4)
Middlesbrough: Turnbull, Wheater, Huth, Pogatetz, Taylor (Hoyte 75), Aliadiere, O’Neil, Shawky, Downing, Alves (Mido 60), Tuncay (Digard 87)
Subs not used: Jones, Emnes, Johnson, Williams
Booked: Mido (79)
Goal: Mido (70)
Other results today: