Liverpool back on top; West Brom keep survival hopes alive

May 10th, 2009 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Fernando Torres London, May 10 (DPA) Liverpool kept the pressure on Manchester United in the race for the English Premier League football title as they won 3-0 in an away match against West Ham United to move back to the top on goal difference.
Two goals from Steven Gerrard and one from Ryan Babel secured an easy win and maintained the team’s outside hopes of pipping United to the title.

United can restore their three-point lead at the top if they beat Manchester City on Sunday.

Bottom side West Bromwich Albion kept alive their hopes of survival after they beat Wigan Athletic 3-1. But Hull City are in real trouble now after they were beaten 2-0 at home by Stoke City, who are safe.

Gerrard Saturday opened the scoring after just 76 seconds at Upton Park, taking Fernando Torres’s pass in his stride and rounding goalkeeper Robert Green before sliding the ball into the empty net.

The match was as good as over in the 38th minute when Torres had his shirt pulled by Luis Boa Morte. Though Gerrard’s penalty was saved, he tapped in the rebound to make it 2-0.

Liverpool were on cruise control thereafter, but Babel came off the substitutes’ bench later to score the third and further improve his side’s goal difference.

At the Hawthorns, West Brom gave themselves a lifeline as Marc-Antoine Fortune scored twice in the 3-1 win over Wigan to lift the Baggies on to 31 points, at level with both Newcastle United and Middlesbrough, who play each other on Monday.

Fortune put West Brom ahead in the seventh minute, but Hugo Rodallega equalised just eight minutes later.

But a rash challenge by Titus Bramble gave West Brom a penalty in the 58th minute, and Chris Brunt converted it before Fortune sealed the points with the third goal 18 minutes from time to keep hope alive for the Baggies with two games to go.

Goals from Ricardo Fuller and Liam Lawrence - the latter a cracking strike - gave Stoke all three points at Hull, although a late strike from Andy Dawson gave the visitors a few anxious seconds with a goal in the fifth minute of injury time.

Hull, though, are in real trouble after their 2-1 defeat at home by Stoke, where Ricardo Fuller and Liam Lawrence scored the goals for the visitors.

Hull remain on 34 points, just three better than the bottom three, with only two games remaining.

“The most difficult part of the job is trying to maintain self belief,” Hull manager Phil Brown said.

“We have still got two games to go and all eyes will be on the game on Monday night (between Newcastle and Middlesbrough).

“No doubt we want a draw from that game so it remains in our hands.

“It is a must-win game (for us) against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium and we have got to get something from both remaining games.

“I’m still confident and have asked the players to keep the faith.”

Stoke manager Tony Pulis was thrilled with his side after they secured another season of Premier League football, defying many judges who believed they would go straight back down.

“It means everything and to prove a lot of people wrong is nice,” Pulis said.

“I worked very hard in my career as a player and as a coach, I always get up and try to do my best and that is what we have all tried to do this year.

“The players have been smashing in every game we have played.”

Aston Villa’s hopes of finishing fifth were dealt a major blow as they were beaten 3-1 at Fulham, where Diomansy Kamara scored twice.

Everton are now just one point behind Villa, despite being held to a goalless draw by Tottenham Hotspur.

Morten-Gamst Pedersen and Benni McCarthy scored the goals as Blackburn beat Portsmouth 2-0 to ensure they too are safe for another season.

Sunderland moved two points clear of Hull after a 0-0 draw at The Reebok.

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