Liverpool beat champions Man United; Chelsea keep paceSeptember 14th, 2008 - 6:15 pm ICT by IANS
London, Sep 14 (DPA) Substitute Ryan Babel scored a second-half winner as Liverpool came from behind to beat Manchester United 2-1 at Anfield to stay top of the English Premier League.Chelsea won 3-1 at big-spending Manchester City to keep pace with Liverpool at the top on 10 points, while Arsenal moved up to second and Hull City are fourth after a win at managerless Newcastle, Saturday.
At Anfield, Carlos Tevez put champions United ahead after just three minutes, finishing off a fine move after a cut-back by new signing Dimitar Berbatov.
But Liverpool bounced back well and an own goal from Wes Brown (26) pulled them level and Babel pounced after a mistake by Ryan Giggs to give Liverpool their first win over champions United in the league since Rafael Benitez took over as manager in 2004.
“At half-time, we were just talking about confidence,” Benitez said after his side’s first win over United at Anfield in seven years.
“In the second half we were controlling it, and I think we were better than them.”
Jamie Carragher, who captained Liverpool because Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres began on the bench, said the victory was crucial to their confidence.
“It’s great,” he said. “It’s been too long and it’s not just the three points. It’s also the belief and confidence it gives us, because we’ve beaten the best team in Europe. It gives us the belief that we can beat anyone in the league.
“We hope we can now push on for the rest of the season. It should spur us on, because we’ve not been playing too well up to now. That is the best we’ve played today.”
Brown’s own goal owed much to the indecision of Edwin Van der Sar as the United goalkeeper palmed the ball against his leg and watched in horror as it bounced into the unguarded goal.
The home side enjoyed the better of the rest of the half, but Tevez had the best chance only to lift the ball over the bar from eight yards out.
Liverpool came out firing after the break, and they dominated United with some of their best play of the season.
Ryan Giggs forced a great save from Jose Reina and Benitez brought Gerrard and Babel on with just over 20 minutes to go.
And the change made the difference in the 76th minute when Giggs failed to clear the ball on the corner of the box and Dirk Kuyt laid the ball back to Babel, whose scuffed shot bounced into the roof of the net.
Kuyt should have made it 3-1 when he was clean through, but Van der Sar saved well, and Nemanja Vidic was sent off in injury time for a second booking.
United have just four points after their defeat, six points behind Liverpool.
“I think overall, Liverpool were the better side today,” United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said.
“Liverpool produced a performance of tackling, hassling and getting about us.
“The source of our defeat was not coping with the hassling and the tackling. You have to give them credit for that - but at the end of the day, we should cope.”
Brazilian Robinho took just 13 minutes to score on his debut for Manchester City at Eastlands.
But Chelsea bounced back strongly and goals from Ricardo Carvalho, Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka sealed the win, although the late sending off of captain John Terry soured the victory somewhat.
Robin van Persie opened the scoring for Arsenal at Blackburn after just eight minutes but Emmanuel Adebayor stole the headlines with a superb hat-trick to seal a convincing win for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Jermain Defoe scored a late winner for Porstmouth - his second of the game - as his side edged out Middlesbrough 2-1.
Newcastle fans angrily made their emotions clear at St James’s Park before their match with Hull City, protesting at Kevin Keegan’s departure as manager.
And Hull increased their woes with a 2-1 win, thanks to two goals from Marlon King, putting them into an early Champions League position.
“Three points, seven from four, maybe getting one or two monkeys off our backs that we were going to be automatic cannon fodder for going down,” Phil Brown said.
West Bromwich Albion pinched a 3-2 win over West Ham United, while Fulham beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 and Wigan drew 1-1 with Sunderland.
Saturday’s results mean that Tottenham Hotspur, who play Aston Villa Monday, are now two points adrift at the bottom of the table.