Liverpool stay ahead as all big four clubs winDecember 7th, 2008 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS
London, Dec 7 (DPA) Victories for Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal meant there was no change at the top of the English Premier League.Three second-half goals gave Liverpool a 3-1 win at struggling Blackburn Rovers, while Chelsea won 2-0 at Bolton Wanderers, meaning that the Merseyside club’s one point lead remains intact after Saturday’s matches.
In third, six points behind the leaders, champions Manchester United claimed a dramatic late winner to see off managerless Sunderland 1-0 at Old Trafford while Arsenal, a point further back in fourth, defeated Wigan Athletic by the same scoreline.
Liverpool won for the first rime in three matches thanks to second-half goals by Xabi Alonso, Yossi Benayoun and Steven Gerrard at Ewood Park.
Alonso and Benayoun struck twice within 10 minutes to put the Reds in control but Roque Santa Cruz pulled one back for the home side four minutes from the end to set up a nervous finish.
However, Gerrard made it 3-1 in injury time to keep Liverpool on top and pile more pressure on Rovers manager Paul Ince, whose team remain second-from-bottom.
“It was an important three points for us,” Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said.
“In the first half we had plenty of possession but didn’t create many chances apart from the one Yossi (Benayoun) had.
“In the second half we had more space and more options. We got the first goal which gave us confidence and Yossi got us another one which was important.”
Early goals from Nicolas Anelka, against one of his former sides, and a stunning overhead kick by Deco gave Chelsea a deserved victory at Bolton.
“It was a fantastic performance,” Chelsea assistant first-team coach Ray Wilkins said.
“It was always going to be an extremely difficult game coming here, Bolton having won four of the last five games, but I thought the spirit and commitment the guys showed was absolutely first class.”
Champions Manchester United maintained their challenge with a priceless late winner against a Sunderland side still reeling from the loss during the week of manager Roy Keane.
The winner arrived only in the 90th minute as defender Nemanja Vidic tapped in after Michael Carrick’s deflected shot came back off the post.
Emmanuel Adebayor’s first-half goal was enough to give Arsenal a 1-0 win over Wigan, while Hull City came from behind to beat Middlesbrough 2-1 and go fifth.
Michael Owen scored twice for Newcastle but Stoke City hit back from 2-0 down to clinch a 2-2 draw, while the early match between Fulham and Manchester City ended in a 1-1 draw.