Liverpool stay top after emphatic 5-1 win at Newcastle
Steven Gerrard scored twice with Sami Hyypia, Ryan Babel and Xabi Alonso (penalty) adding the others as Liverpool maintained their drive for their first title success since 1990.sports Updated: Dec 28, 2008 21:11 IST
Liverpool stayed top of the Premier League on Sunday after an emphatic 5-1 win at Newcastle United gave them maximum points from their two Christmas fixtures.
Liverpool moved on to 45 points from 20 matches, four points ahead of Chelsea (41 points) who were playing at neighbours Fulham later in the afternoon (1400 GMT).
It was their biggest win of the season and followed up their 3-0 demolition of Bolton Wanderers on Friday. It also moved them 10 points ahead of third-placed Manchester United, at least until the champions play Middlesbrough on Monday.
United have three matches in hand over Liverpool.
Steven Gerrard scored twice with Sami Hyypia, Ryan Babel and Xabi Alonso (penalty) adding the others as Liverpool maintained their drive for their first title success since 1990.
After being denied an early breakthrough by Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given who made three outstanding saves, Liverpool took control when Gerrard scored with a shot that went in off the post after 31 minutes and a header from Hyypia following a corner five minutes later.
Newcastle pulled one back in stoppage time at the end of the first half when David Edgar headed in from a corner, but Babel restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage when he prodded home from close range after United's defenders stopped and waited for a whistle for handball that never came.
Gerrard added the fourth after 66 minutes when he dinked the ball over Given following a sublime through ball from Lucas Leiva and Alonso made it 5-1 in the 76th minute after Edgar fouled David Ngog.
Newcastle made very little impression in a poor display, just hours after billionaire Mike Ashley announced he was taking the club off the market and remaining as the club's owner.
Besides Chelsea's match at Fulham, six other matches were being played on Sunday including the one between fifth-placed Arsenal and midtable Portsmouth, now managed by former Arsenal great Tony Adams, looking to end a run of four league games without a win.