Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

Liverpool surge towards title, Manchester United deny Arsenal top spot

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (R) scores a goal against Fulham during their English Premier League soccer match at Craven Cottage in London (Reuters) Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (R) scores a goal against Fulham during their English Premier League soccer match at Craven Cottage in London (Reuters)
Reuters | London | Posted: February 13, 2014 2:02 pm

Liverpool’s surge towards a first league title since 1990 continued on Wednesday when they beat Fulham 3-2 with a last-minute penalty while Arsenal’s challenge took a knock after a 0-0 home draw against Manchester United.

The most open Premier League championship race for years continued on a wild and windy night across Britain, leaving Chelsea top, just seven points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who chalked up a superb 4-0 win at Newcastle United.

The other match that survived the weather ended in a 1-1 draw between Stoke City and Swansea City at the Britannia Stadium, a result that left both sides mired in the equally tight battle to avoid the drop that has 11 teams in its grip.

The storms caused Manchester City’s game against Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium and Everton’s match at Goodison Park against Crystal Palace to be postponed because of dangerously high winds.

After drawing 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, Chelsea lead the way with 57 points, one in front of Arsenal with 12 matches to play.

Manchester City are third on 54 with a game in hand on the top two, followed by Liverpool on 53 and Spurs on 50.

Everton, who also have a game in hand, are sixth on 45 points, three clear of United who have won just two of their last seven league matches.

The most dramatic game of the night was played at Craven Cottage where bottom-of-the-table Fulham, who forced a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday, twice led against Liverpool who were heavily fancied to win following their 5-1 demolition of Arsenal on Saturday.

It was Fulham who took the lead when defender Kolo Toure, guilty of a terrible error that cost Liverpool victory at West Brom earlier this month, sliced the ball into his own net after eight minutes.

Daniel Sturridge equalised, scoring for the eighth successive match, four minutes before the break before Fulham stunned the visitors by going ahead again through Kieran Richardson.

Brendan Rodgers’s side equalised for a second time when Philippe Coutinho found the net from 20 metres in the 72nd minute.
Sascha Reither then brought down Sturridge in stoppage time and skipper Steven Gerrard scored from the penalty spot.

“Gerrard’s peerless in situations like that,” Rodgers told reporters. “He showed brilliant composure.

“We had to show the character in our team tonight coming from behind twice. This team has not just grown technically in the way of our work but we’re showing great characteristics mentally.”

Van Persie boos

Arsenal and United needed victories following their setbacks at the weekend but, despite chances at both ends, neither could find a goal.

United should have taken the lead in the second minute when former Gunner Robin van Persie, booed by the home fans every continued…

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