Liverpool keep alive slim title hopes

West Ham 0 Liverpool 3

Liverpool returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League - for 24 hours at least - with a 3-0 win at West Ham today.

Rafael Benitez's side moved back ahead of Manchester United on goal difference after a Steven Gerrard brace helped them to victory at Upton Park.

Fernando Torres made his return from injury and it took only 76 seconds for his partnership with Gerrard to bear fruit again, the Spaniard expertly measuring a through-ball for his captain, who rounded Robert Green to put the Reds 1-0 up.

Gerrard scored again seven minutes before the break, missing from the spot after Luis Boa Morte had tugged Torres' shirt but making no mistake with the follow-up, while substitute Ryan Babel completed the scoring six minutes from time.

United, who have two games in hand over Liverpool, play Manchester City at Old Trafford tomorrow, while Chelsea, in third, take on fourth-placed Arsenal.

At the other end of the table, West Brom brought their fans new hope that they can beat the drop with a stirring 3-1 win over Wigan.

The Baggies remain at the foot of the league but are now level on points in the relegation zone with Middlesbrough and Newcastle - who meet on Monday - after sealing a precious victory at the Hawthorns.

West Brom made a bright start and Marc-Antoine Fortune gave them the lead in the eighth minute, pouncing after Chris Kirkland could only parry a powerful effort from Gianni Zuiverloon.

It was 1-1 within 10 minutes, Hugo Rodallega claiming his first goal in English football after his free-kick took a wicked deflection off Chris Brunt.

But the midfielder made amends on the hour, following up to score at the second time of asking after substitute keeper Richard Kingson had saved his initial penalty.

And Fortune wrapped up the win with just over a quarter of an hour remaining to set the home crowd dreaming of yet another great escape after the heroics of 2005.

There was more good news for Tony Mowbray's side, who could have been relegated today if results had gone against them, as Hull were beaten 2-1 by Stoke at the KC Stadium.

The Tigers remain only three points above the relegation zone after goals from Ricardo Fuller and a screamer from Liam Lawrence extended their disastrous sequence of results since the turn of the year.

Fuller struck in the 40th minute, swivelling and firing a powerful effort past Boaz Myhill, and Lawrence doubled Stoke's advantage after 73 minutes with a superb dipping volley before Andy Dawson's late consolation.

The result means the Potters, who were promoted with Hull last year, will definitely be playing in the Premier League next season.

Sunderland, who are also fighting for their lives just outside the bottom three, dominated long periods of their encounter with Bolton at the Reebok Stadium but were unable to find the net.

Kieran Richardson was guilty of wasting their best opportunity in the 24th minute, skying his shot from 12 yards when it appeared easier to score, but Martin Fulop's late stop from Gary Cahill saved the Black Cats from a last-gasp defeat and leaves them in 16th place, five points above the drop zone.

Blackburn put an end to any lingering relegation fears with a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth, who are still looking over their shoulder with two games to go.

Morten Gamst Pedersen took advantage of an error by David James to put the hosts in front in the first half and Benni McCarthy settled the issue with a penalty on the hour, while Pompey's John Utaka made a woeful attempt of his spot-kick with three minutes left.

European hopefuls Fulham moved up to seventh spot after condemning Aston Villa to a 3-1 defeat at Craven Cottage.

The hosts went ahead after six minutes when James Milner pushed Diomansy Kamara in the box and Danny Murphy slotted the resulting spot-kick perfectly into the bottom right-hand corner.

Villa equalised after 15 minutes when PFA Young Player of the Year Ashley Young slid in to prod John Carew's cross past Mark Schwarzer.

Fulham wrapped up the points early in the second half, though, through a brace from Kamara, who burst forward to drill the ball home a minute after the restart and executed a cheeky back-heel that deceived Brad Friedel 10 minutes later.

Elsewhere, Everton and Tottenham played out a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park.

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker