Andre Bennett - Photo-Paul Gaythorpe, PK4 Images

Boro U21 side faced their Liverpool counterparts at The Academy, Kirkby, in a bid to finish second in the table behind the Merseysiders, the only side to beat them in the last six games.

That would allow them to qualify for the Elite section early next year.

Interested spectators included Jamie Carragher, John Aldridge and former Boro legend Stuart Ripley.

Included in the home side was the returning Brazilian international Lucas Leiva, who had been out for three months with a thigh injury.

Boro fashioned the first chance of the game on 10 minutes when Wilson Kneeshaw burst down the right wing. He swung the ball over to Cameron Park, but the winger's shot went over the bar.

Liverpool then started to impose themselves and they nearly took the lead when a great ball from Pacheco found Morgan, who tried to chip Connor Ripley. However the keeper got something on the ball, which allowed Christian Burgess the chance to clear.

Morgan, chanced his arm again on 18 minutes, but his deflected shot was acrobatically tipped over by Ripley.

There was brief respite for the away side on 26 minutes when Park swung in a fizzing left wing free kick. This caused mayhem in the Liverpool box, but unfortunately for Boro the ball was finally cleared.

Liverpool could easily have found themselves down to 10 men when left back Robinson first caught Andre Bennett with a flying elbow, then seconds later flew into a crashing challenge on Burgess which caused him to have lengthy treatment.

Half time: Liverpool U21s 0 Boro U21s 0

Liverpool thought they had broken the deadlock on 51 minutes, when a Pacheco snapshot forced a Ripley save. From the rebound, Adorjan knocked the ball into the net but was adjudged to be offside.

Boro hit back and came so close to taking the lead just after the hour mark. Ryan Brobbel played in an inswinging corner and Burgess met the flick on at the back post, but the ball was deflected wide by Robinson. The match official gave a goal kick much to the chagrin of the tall centre half.

On 67 minutes Park released Wilson Kneeshaw, who burst through the middle. He took the shot early but his 25 yard effort was saved by Gulacsi.

The home side finally took the lead on 77 minutes through Adam Morgan, who was also the match winner when the two sides met at The Riverside earlier in the season. He showed good composure to round Ripley and tuck home.

Boro were struggling to make inroads into a Liverpool team who have remained unbeaten all season, and you could see why with a slick powerful passing style.

There was opportunity for just one more Boro chance which came a minute from time, when Park played a right wing free kick into the box. Just as it looked like Kyle Oliver was going to get his head on it, the keeper managed to punch it out to safety.

The game drew to a close with another great tip over from Ripley, this time from substitute Teixeira.

A quick comparison of the two sides makes interesting reading. Liverpool included eight players who have had first team experience at various clubs. Those players have amassed in excess of 250 games, with 150 of them coming from Lucas Leiva, who has also been capped 20 times by Brazil. The Boro team only included Park and Ripley, with 13 senior appearances between them.

Boro are now third in the table, one point behind Wolves, with both teams having one game to play. Boro's final U21 game of this current phase is on December 3 when Chelsea visit the Riverside, kick off 7pm.

Boro: Ripley; Bennett, Weldon, Dolan (Capt), Burgess, Oliver, Park, Brobbel (Edwards 78), Waters (Jones 58), Kneeshaw, Sirrell (Fowler 56). Unused subs: Bland (gk), Morris

Liverpool: Gulacsi, Flanagan (McLaughlin 77), Robinson, Sama, Sokolik, Coady (Capt), Morgan, Leiva (Roddan 61), Pacheco, Adorjan, Pelosi (Teixeira 69). Unused subs: Ward (gk), Ngoo

Booked: Robinson, Morgan (Liverpool)

Boro MoM: The vote goes to Andre Bennett, who excelled especially in the first half with strong defending and cool distribution. Other players of note were Connor Ripley, who produced a string of saves, and again captain Matty Dolan, who acquitted himself well against Lucas.

Click here to go the U21s section of the site.