Federico aka 'Kiko' Macheda rode to United's rescue again. The 17-year-old Italian came off the bench to deflect a low shot past Craig Gordon and seal a 2-1 win over Sunderland. United is top of the league in front of Liverpool.
AFP - Federico Macheda's fairytale start to his Manchester United career continued on Saturday when he scored with his first touch to sink Sunderland and keep the champions on top of the Premier League.
Six days after he scored a sensational stoppage-time winner against Aston Villa, the 17-year-old Italian came off the bench again to deflect Michael Carrick's low shot past Craig Gordon and seal a 2-1 win after Kenwyne Jones had cancelled out Paul Scholes's first-half header.
It was a victory that United scarcely deserved after another nervy performance but it was sufficient to ensure Sir Alex Ferguson's side regained a one-point advantage over Liverpool at the top of the table.
United have the added insurance of a game in hand over their biggest rivals, who had bounced back from their Champions League mauling by Chelsea by knocking four goals past Blackburn without reply.
Fernando Torres was the architect of Liverpool's win with two first-half strikes, the Spanish striker following up a memorable fifth-minute volley with a header after 33 minutes to take his goal tally for the season to 14.
A long-range strike from Danish centreback Daniel Agger, seven minutes from the end, and a last-minute goal for young striker David Ngog sealed the points on a day when Anfield remembered the 96 supporters who died in the Hillsborough disaster of April 15, 1989.
Chelsea kept their own title hopes alive with a 4-3 win over Bolton in a bizarre encounter at Stamford Bridge
Michael Ballack combined with Salomon Kalou to give the Blues a half-time lead and they cruised into a 4-0 lead when Didier Drogba claimed a second-half double sandwiched around a Frank Lampard penalty.
But three goals in the space of eight minutes -- from Andy O'Brien, Chris Basham and Matt Taylor -- ensured Chelsea were left hanging on desperately at the end.
Arsenal's long unbeaten run in the league appeared under threat after former Tottenham striker Mido's shot crept under Lukasz Fabianski to give Wigan a half-time lead at the JJB Stadium.
But the Gunners cut loose in the final half-hour with Theo Walcott, Mikael Silvestre, Andriy Arshavin and Alexandre Song all finding the net for a 4-1 win to consolidate the Gunners' grip on fourth place.
At the other end of the table, Middlesbrough gave their survival hopes a huge shot in the arm with a 3-1 win over relegation rivals Hull.
Tuncay Sanli's third-minute strike was quickly cancelled out by a header from Manucho, the Manchester United striker on loan at Hull.
But Matthew Bates toe-poked in Stewart Downing's corner to give Boro a half-time lead and Marlon King sealed the points late on after a terrible mistake by former Boro midfielder George Boateng.
Portsmouth blew a chance to pull further clear of the drop zone after a 2-2 draw at home to bottom side West Brom.
Younes Kaboul gave Pompey a first-half lead but that was cancelled out by Jonathan Greening and the Baggies then took the lead through Chris Brunt before Niko Kranjcar's free-kick salvaged a point for Pompey.
In the afternoon's other game, Tottenham overcame London rivals West Ham with substitute Roman Payluchenko scoring the only goal of the match at White Hart Lane.
Date created : 2009-04-11