Liverpool 3-0 Middlesbrough

Liverpool secured a return to the Champions League with a 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Anfield.

Georginio Wijnaldum rifled home on the stroke of half-time after a nervy 45 minutes to give the Reds the lead at the interval.

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Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure after the break and doubled their lead through a terrific free-kick from Philippe Coutinho.

Adam Lallana wrapped up all three points with his first goal of the year following an incisive counter-attack to secure fourth place in the Premier League.

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Jurgen Klopp made just one change from the side that demolished West Ham, Roberto Firmino returning from injury to replace Divock Origi.

The Reds piled on the pressure from the onset with Coutinho attempting to pull the strings from midfield, but most of his efforts were comfortable for Brad Guzan.

Patrick Bamford’s exquisite touch created an early chance for the visitors, but the forward was bundled over by Dejan Lovren. However, Martin Atkinson waved away the appeals for a penalty.

Liverpool had chances, but Middlesbrough’s defence held strong until the stroke of half-time. Roberto Firmino’s expert flick found Wijnaldum and the Dutch international fired a powerful effort home to send the Kop into raptures.

The hosts dominated the early stages of the second half as they searched for their second goal. It came after Daniel Sturridge was fouled 25 yards from goal. Coutinho stepped up and curled a beautiful effort into the top corner.

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Klopp’s men continued to dominate possession and broke quickly following a Middlesbrough corner on 56 minutes. The move was finished by Lallana who gave Guzan no chance with a low effort.

Liverpool had chances to add to the scoreline, but Wijnaldum struck narrowly wide, and Firmino fluffed his lines with the goal at his mercy.

Victory over already relegated Boro sees Liverpool finish fourth – securing a place in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League next season.


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