Liverpool v Middlesbrough: Karanka braced for backlash from slow-starting Liverpool

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.
AITOR KARANKA is preparing for a Liverpool backlash following back-to-back league defeats for the Merseysiders.

Karanka’s bouyant Boro side head to Anfield tonight in high spirits after three wins on the spin, the latest coming in a big 4-0 victory over Brentford.

Brendan Rodgers’s side, by contrast, are stewing after a weekend loss at West Ham which followed a patchy Champions League win over Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets and home league reverse to Aston Villa.

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Despite the Teessiders’ recent form, Karanka has cited former club Real Madrid’s emphatic 8-2 La Liga drubbing of Deportivo on Saturday as an example of how quality sides hit back, with the Spanish giants having headed into that game on the back of two consecutive defeats.

An additional factor to consider is the fact that Anfield is a real bogey ground for Boro, who have not won in 25 attempts there since March 1976.

Karanka said: “I know they are not in a good way, but they have a good manager and good players.

“(But) Look at Real Madrid, they were very bad two weeks ago, then they score eight goals.

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“You cannot know what is, and what is not, a good time to play Liverpool.

“You have to remember, they are a Champions League team and we are a Championship team.

“There is a big difference between Liverpool and us. Our real tests are against teams in the Championship; but we will go there and try to win.

“We must go there to win, you cannot go to enjoy the atmosphere. 
That is dangerous.”

Last six games: Liverpool WLWLWL; Middlesbrough LWLWWW.

Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

Last time: Liverpool 2 Middlesbrough 1; August 23, 2008; Premier League.