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The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 14 March 2012

Gerrard hat-trick seals crucial derby win for Liverpool

Steven Gerrard opened up a five-point gap between Liverpool and local rivals Everton at Anfield last night, as his hat-trick won a one-sided Merseyside derby 3-0.

Liverpool dominated a game in which Everton manager David Moyes chose to start with Tim Cahill, Leon Osman and Johnny Heitinga on the bench. Everton have an FA Cup quarter-final against Sunderland on Saturday.

Gerrard put Liverpool ahead in the first half, perfectly curling the ball over defenders' heads and under the bar from the edge of the penalty area.

Six minutes into the second half he scored his second, firing into the roof of the net after good work down the right-hand side by Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan forward made Gerrard's third goal in added time, receiving a pass from his captain and playing him back in to score from close range. It was Gerrard's first league hat-trick since March 2009, and leaves Liverpool 10 points behind fourth-placed Arsenal. MORE

Peterson dying to beat Khan again

Lamont Peterson said that he is desperate to defend his WBA super-lightweight and IBFlight-welterweight belts in his rematch with Amir Khan in Las Vegas on 19 May. "I'll be ready," he said, "ready to die in that ring to keep these titles." MORE

Fans create fund to defend Rangers

A "Rangers Fans Fighting Fund" has been set up by the current and former managers Ally McCoist and Walter Smith and the Rangers Support Assembly. The fund will pass money to the club administrators when the money is required. MORE

Gomez's four fire Bayern through

Bayern Munich and Marseilles reached the quarter-finals last night. Bayern beat Basle 7-0, with four goals from Mario Gomez. Marseilles lost 2-1 at Internazionale, Brandao scoring the goal for the French club, who went through on away goals. MORE

Terry rebuts claims before Napoli game

John Terry has described as "nonsense" claims that Chelsea are run by senior players, ahead of tonight's crucial last-16 second leg against Napoli. He said the game, which Chelsea need to win by two, "could go down as one of the best nights in Chelsea's history". MORE

Rowntree: England situation 'strange'

The England forwards coach, Graham Rowntree, said the unresolved futures of the coaching staff, led by Stuart Lancaster, were "strange". "We're beyond strange now, aren't we?" he said. "There's a lot up in the air at the moment." MORE

Wales know not to take France lightly

Neil Jenkins, Wales's skills coach, said there was no danger of underestimating France in the game that could complete a Grand Slam. "We are playing a side we have not beaten since 2008," he said, "and they will want to prove a lot of people wrong." MORE

Rock On Ruby wins Champion Hurdle

Rock On Ruby was the surprise winner of the Stan James Champion Hurdle yesterday, beating favourite Hurricane Fly. "It's a big team thing," said trainer Paul Nicholls. "The Seaborough horses have been flying. I feel privileged to be part of it." MORE

Sizing Europe goes for third victory

Sizing Europe is going for a third consecutive win at the Festival in the Sportingbet Champion Chase this afternoon. Well trained by Henry De Bromhead, he has been excellent recently, comprehensively beating Big Zeb at Punchestown just last month. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Noel Fehily has always possessed the most admirable qualities of a superior horseman. He was so much in control and so confident on Rock on Ruby yesterday that AP McCoy became a struggling member of the pack. MORE

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