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Torres fires as Liverpool win derby
March 31, 2008 09:28 IST
Liverpool completed a quartet of weekend wins for the top four with a 1-0 defeat of Everton at Anfield on Sunday. The result tightened their grip on fourth place, which is worth a slot in the Champions League qualifiers.
Spaniard Fernando Torres scored his 21st league goal of the season to defeat a subdued Everton side, who now look destined for a UEFA Cup place.
Earlier, Chelsea kept their Premier League title hopes alive with a 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough but their performance would have caused few alarms for leaders Manchester United [Images].
Ricardo Carvalho's well-placed header inside the opening six minutes at Stamford Bridge proved sufficient for Avram Grant's side to cut the gap to five points but they rode their luck as Boro's Brazilian striker Afonso Alves twice hit the woodwork.
Chelsea, unbeaten at home in the league for four years, survived a nervy second half to move back above Arsenal [Images] into second place with 71 points from 32 games while United, 4-0 winners against Aston Villa on saturday, have 76.
Arsenal, who beat Bolton Wanderers 3-2 on Saturday, have 70 points, with Liverpool back on 62 and Everton on 57.
Everton arrived at Anfield with genuine hopes of overtaking their city rivals but produced a stale performance and barely had a worthwhile effort on goal.
The game was only seven minutes old when Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni was caught in possession on the edge of the area and when the ball was poked through to the lurking Torres he fired a clinical shot across keeper Tim Howard into the net.
Liverpool, who face Arsenal in the Champions League quarter-final, first leg on Wednesday, were dominant throughout and Steven Gerrard thumped a volley against the post and stung Howard's hands with another late drive.
Middlesbrough dropped to 13th place, below Newcastle United who eased their relegation fears with a 4-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur after trailing 1-0. Nicky Butt, Geremi, Michael Owen [Images] and Obafemi Martins were all on target.