Tuesday, October 21, 2014   

(Football) Liverpool hang on
(03-27 11:04)

English Premier League title-chasers Liverpool overcame an attack of nerves to squeeze to a 2-1 win over Sunderland and move to within a point of leader Chelsea yesterday.
Steven Gerrard's free kick and Daniel Sturridge's deflected shot put Liverpool two goals clear by the 48th minute, but the pressure of being a serious challenger for the title for the first time since 2009 showed in the final half-hour, AP reports.
Ki Sung Yeung's 76th-minute header came amid a dominant spell for the relegation-threatened visitors and Liverpool survived some hair-raising moments in the last minutes to seal a seventh straight league win.
Liverpool players' loss of composure in the latter stages was telling.
The victory lifted Liverpool into second place -- two points above Manchester City, who have two games in hand over the sides above them. But this was not as convincing as the Reds' previous six victories, when they scored at least three goals every game to cement their status as the Premier League entertainers.
Sturridge found the net, via a deflection off Wes Brown, for his 20th goal of the campaign.
Luis Suarez's current haul stands at 28 goals and although the Uruguay international didn't add to his tally against Sunderland, he played a key role in the opener.
Santiago Vergini escaped with just a yellow card when he hauled down Suarez when last man. Sunderland hadn't escaped, though, as Gerrard curled the resulting free kick in the 39th into the top corner for his ninth goal in 2014.
Relief spread around Anfield but the nerves were to return midway through the second half, when Liverpool sat back and started to get sloppy in possession.
The deficit was halved when Adam Johnson whipped in a corner that crept through a crowded area for fellow substitute Ki to stoop and head in at the far post. And Sunderland should have returned to the north east with a point as John O'Shea headed a gilt-edged chance wide just before injury time.
It's another win chalked up by Liverpool as it seeks a first league title since 1990 and the club's fans are starting to believe again. The way they cheered Liverpool's players into Anfield before the game got Rodgers' heart beating.
Liverpool have home games remaining against City and Chelsea.
In the other game, West Ham ended a three-game losing streak as an own-goal by James Chester secured a 2-1 win over 10-man Hull in a match between two mid-table teams.
Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor was shown a straight red card after charging into Mo Diame midway through the first half and Mark Noble dispatched the resulting penalty to give West Ham the lead. Nikica Jelavic equalized in the 48th.
   
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