Negredo, Middlesbrough draw another blank against Liverpool
Middlesbrough were simply outclassed by a rampant and fluent Liverpool in what was a disappointing display from the home side. Energy drained from the Teessiders after negative substitutions in the second half as Liverpool coasted to an easy victory. While this is definitely one of the fixtures where a positive result would seem a bit of a reach, it was disenchanting that Boro didn't even have a go at their opponents.
There was little to pull out in terms of positivity in a performance where Boro never really came out of the blocks or took the game to Liverpool. Left-back Fabio has found form as cover for the injured George Friend and contributed well tonight with the unenviable task of keeping tabs on Sadio Mane.
It was a very sobering evening for Boro who sorely missed injured playmaker Gaston Ramirez. Striker Alvaro Negredo was unsupported as Aitor Karanka's typically steadfast approach -- in terms of formation and sticking with one man up front -- let him down tonight.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Karanka is not failing fast in his first season in the Premier League. Lessons are not being learned and the Basque boss is stubborn to the point of obstinacy. Early in the second half, whilst losing 1-0, the boss hauled off two hard-working and creative midfielders in favour of Grant Leadbitter, who lacks match fitness, and Stewart Downing who further stagnated the midfield. It was almost as if he had given up and wanted to sit back and defend a 1-0 defeat.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Victor Valdes, 6 -- Valdes found himself under a deluge of Liverpool attempts in the second half as Boro gave up the ghost. He probably couldn't have done much to prevent what were three very well-worked team goals.
DF Antonio Barragan, 4 -- Barragan had a tough time of it tonight, constantly inviting pressure from Liverpool's flank players and failing to cut out attacks at the source.
DF Ben Gibson, 5 -- Had an early chance to put the home team 1-0 up but it was at the other end of the pitch where Gibson failed to really make his mark, coming second-best at all times to the Liverpool attacking onslaught.
DF Calum Chambers, 5 -- Chambers could not match speedy Sadio Mane for pace and crumbled under pressure in the second half along with the rest of the home side.
DF Fabio, 7 -- Probably the sole shining light in this game, Fabio's pace helped him to be more of a match to the quickness of Liverpool than his teammates.
MF Adam Forshaw, 4 -- Struggled to get into the game which is unusual for the mostly consistent midfielder.
MF Marten de Roon, 5 -- De Roon brought bite and passion that seemed somewhat lacking across the rest of the squad, but it wasn't enough alone to make any real impact.
MF Adam Clayton, 5 -- Substituted early in the second half due to his standing of four yellow cards. Clayton did not stand up to Jordan Henderson who was instrumental in many of Liverpool's breaks.
MF Viktor Fischer, 5 -- Was caught flat-footed and allowed Nathaniel Clyne acres of space to cross in for Adam Lallana's first goal. Missed a gilt-edged chance to make something happen for Boro after a flying run and setup from Adama Traore.
MF Adama Traore, 5 -- Showed flashes of his trademark pace but was never really threatening enough toward an assured away team.
FW Alvaro Negredo, 4 -- A night to forget for the under-supported Spaniard who left the pitch in frustration at another barren performance.
MF Grant Leadbitter, 4 -- Leadbitter has been out for months with a hernia injury and his lack of match fitness certainly showed as he struggled to get a foothold in the game.
MF Stewart Downing, 4 -- Had very little impact on the game after coming on in the second half and showed nothing that could change the game for a dead-in-the-water Boro.
FW Jordan Rhodes, NR -- Replaced Negredo in the 77th minute. Worked hard and certainly did more running than Negredo but again suffered from a real lack of supply.
Catherine Wilson ESPN FC's Middlesbrough blogger. You can follow her on Twitter: @Basslady