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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Football

Five points clear, Liverpool's title quest remains on track
AFP
London, April 21, 2014
First Published: 00:46 IST(21/4/2014)
Last Updated: 00:48 IST(21/4/2014)

Liverpool took another step towards a first league title since 1990 after winning 3-2 at Norwich City on Sunday to pull five points clear in the Premier League. Quick-fire early goals from Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez put the visitors in control at Carrow Road, before Gary Hooper replied for fourth-bottom Norwich in the 54th minute.

Sterling appeared to have made the points safe with a deflected shot minutes later, but a late Robert Snodgrass header obliged Liverpool to endure a nervy last 10 minutes.

Bigger prize
It was Liverpool's 11th consecutive league victory and means that they are guaranteed to qualify for next season's Champions League, but Brendan Rodgers's side now have a bigger prize in their sights. They need seven points from their remaining three games to win the league and can eliminate Chelsea from the title race by winning at home to Jose Mourinho's side next weekend.

"It was massive," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "We said before the game, every victory at this stage of the season, whether you're top, middle or bottom, is important, and I thought we showed great courage today. We will go into the next three games looking to perform well. We want to continue to fight and now look to Chelsea next week, where it will be an incredible atmosphere at Anfield."

Chelsea's shock 2-1 defeat at home to Sunderland on Saturday, coupled with Manchester City's draw against the same side in mid-week, had given Liverpool a huge opportunity to stamp their authority on the title race.

Suarez emulates Rush
It was the Uruguayan's 12th goal in his last five appearances against Norwich and made him the first Liverpool player to score 30 league goals in a season since Ian Rush in 1986-87. Suarez is now one goal short of the record goal tally for a 38-game Premier League season, which is jointly held by Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo. "It is important for myself, but my target is to help the team every time. We are on the top now and we enjoy that," he said.

Easy win for gunners
Meanwhile, Arsenal comfortably won 3-0 at future FA Cup final opponents Hull City to provisionally open up a four-point lead over Everton in the race for the fourth and final Champions League qualifying place.

Roberto Martinez's side trimmed their lead back to a point with a clinical 2-0 defeat of Manchester United. It was United manager David Moyes's first visit to Goodison Park since he left to succeed Alex Ferguson last year and it was to prove a chastening one, as his side fell to their 11th defeat of a dismal campaign.


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