Match ends, Middlesbrough 0, Liverpool 3.
Middlesbrough 0-3 Liverpool
Adam Lallana scored twice and created another goal to give Liverpool their most emphatic away Premier League win of the season in a dominant display at Middlesbrough.
The Reds arrived at the Riverside Stadium having taken just one point from their past two matches and manager Jurgen Klopp chose to drop goalkeeper Loris Karius.
However, his replacement Simon Mignolet had little to do after Lallana headed home Nathaniel Clyne's cross before the break as Liverpool seized complete control.
Sadio Mane wasted several opportunities but Lallana was clinical, first crossing slickly for Divock Origi to prod home a fine team goal, then side-footing in a pass from the Belgium striker for the third.
The three-goal margin was enough to move Liverpool second, while Boro - competitive in the first half but abject after the break - drop to 17th.
Klopp's classy night
The gulf in class between these two teams was clear. Often keeping possession with 10 home shirts behind the ball, Liverpool waited for key moments to inject pace into attacks with devastating effect.
Klopp's decision to replace Karius drew focus before kick-off, but that will switch to his side's qualities after this display.
Lallana was at the centre of everything they did well. Shortly after arriving at the back post to head home the opener, he slid in to block a stinging Adam Forshaw shot at the other end.
Mane struck the woodwork, giving the hosts hope in the second half, but a one-touch interchange involving the Senegal international, Georginio Wijnaldum, Lallana and Origi for the second goal epitomised all that was good about the classy visitors.
Lallana has now been involved in 12 goals this season, scoring six and making six - a healthy improvement on the 10 he was involved in across 30 appearances in 2015-16.
And at the other end Liverpool also answered questions. They have scored 40 goals in the league after 16 matches - the last time they did that they won the title in 1978-79 - but the fact they have still conceded one more goal than Boro is worrying.
Even without the composure Joel Matip often offers, his replacement Ragnar Klavan formed part of a solid defence alongside Dejan Lovren, with Mignolet only making one key save to deny Viktor Fischer before half-time.
Karanka's attacking dilemma
Even against a Reds side who had conceded six goals in their past two matches, Boro could not overcome their growing tendency to be blunt in front of goal.
A three-goal margin suggests their problems were defensive, but with striker Alvaro Negredo constantly isolated, perhaps more support for him in the final third could have at least offered them a footing.
Their 13 goals and their tally of 41 shots on target are both league lows. They managed three on target on Wednesday but have not had four in a match this season.
Aitor Karanka's side are clearly committed - they have made more tackles than any side this season - but they are yet to win two games in a row since being promoted.
At this stage last season Newcastle had a point more than Boro but ended up being relegated.
Middlesbrough will have far easier nights, but they are edging close to trouble and solving their attacking difficulties could go a long way to aid their fortunes.
Man of the match - Adam Lallana
Klopp's Lallana chat - what they said
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka: "We have to remember how good we've been in the games before this, against Bournemouth and Hull City. I think they were the best team we've faced this season.
"We tried, especially in the second half with two new players, to press higher. It proved impossible to stop them. I can admit they were much better than us."
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "We had moments in the first half where we were static and even I was confused. We did much better second half, we could have finished more often.
"Adam Lallana is improving even when he doesn't score, but it's nice he's in that situation. About a year ago I had sat him in the office and I was happy with him but he was like 'I'm not scoring' - and I said he wasn't in the right positions. Tonight he was twice in the right position and it was wonderful."
Lallana England's spark - top stats
- Liverpool picked up their first Premier League win at the Riverside Stadium since March 2002, ending a run of seven trips there without victory
- Boro conceded more goals on Wednesday than they had in their four previous Premier League home games
- It was Middlesbrough's heaviest home defeat in the Premier League since October 2008 when they were beaten 5-0 by Chelsea
- Lallana's first goal was the first time an English player has assisted another English player for Liverpool in the Premier League this season
- Lallana has both scored and assisted a goal in three different Premier League games this season - no player has done so more
Middlesbrough have another home league fixture against relegation-threatened Swansea City on Saturday (15:00 GMT kick-off), while Liverpool travel to Everton on Monday (20:00) for what will be Ronald Koeman's first Merseyside derby in charge of the Toffees.
- 6GibsonBooked at 69mins
- 2da Silva
- 8ClaytonSubstituted forLeadbitterat 56'minutes
- 14de Roon
- 10NegredoSubstituted forRhodesat 77'minutes
- 11FischerSubstituted forDowningat 56'minutes
- 20LallanaSubstituted forLeivaat 82'minutes
- 5WijnaldumSubstituted forEjariaat 87'minutes
- 27OrigiSubstituted forAlexander-Arnoldat 90+1'minutes
- Jonathan Moss
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Middlesbrough 0, Liverpool 3.
Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).
Calum Chambers (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Liverpool. Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Divock Origi.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Divock Origi (Liverpool) because of an injury.
Attempt blocked. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Liverpool. Ovie Ejaria replaces Georginio Wijnaldum.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Antonio Barragán (Middlesbrough).
Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Ragnar Klavan.
Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jordan Rhodes (Middlesbrough).
Substitution, Liverpool. Lucas Leiva replaces Adam Lallana.
Attempt missed. Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Marten de Roon.
Foul by Dejan Lovren (Liverpool).
Jordan Rhodes (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt blocked. James Milner (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sadio Mané.
James Milner (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Antonio Barragán (Middlesbrough).
Substitution, Middlesbrough. Jordan Rhodes replaces Álvaro Negredo.
Offside, Middlesbrough. Grant Leadbitter tries a through ball, but Stewart Downing is caught offside.
Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Goal! Middlesbrough 0, Liverpool 3. Adam Lallana (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Divock Origi with a cross.
Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).
Antonio Barragán (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough).
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marten de Roon (Middlesbrough).
Foul by Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool).
Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt blocked. Fabio (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Adam Lallana (Liverpool).
Adama Traoré (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Divock Origi (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Calum Chambers (Middlesbrough).
Goal! Middlesbrough 0, Liverpool 2. Divock Origi (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Adam Lallana.