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Liverpool suffer new setback against impressive Portsmouth, Fulham floor United

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-20

Liverpool slumped to a seventh league defeat this season as bottom club Portsmouth secured a 2-0 home win against the Reds on Saturday. Fulham claimed a shock 3-0 win over champions Manchester United.

AFP - Fulham produced the latest twist in a see-saw Premier League title race with a shock 3-0 win over champions Manchester United at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
   
Goals from Danny Murphy, Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff condemned injury-hit United to their fifth league loss of the season.
   
Manchester City boss Mark Hughes, meanwhile, was rumoured to be close to the sack after his club called an evening press conference, despite seeing his side defeat Sunderland 4-3 in a thrilling game at the City of Manchester Stadium.
   
United's defeat left Sir Alex Ferguson's side three points behind leaders Chelsea, who will extend their advantage to six points if they win away to relegation-threatened London rivals West Ham on Sunday.
   
Liverpool's miserable season hit a new low as Javier Mascherano was sent off in a 2-0 defeat away to bottom of the table Portsmouth.
   
Aston Villa continued their push for a top-four spot with a 1-0 win at home to Stoke City.
   
Fellow European contenders Tottenham Hotspur, fresh from their 3-0 mid-week win over Manchester City, beat Blackburn Rovers 2-0 thanks to two goals from England striker Peter Crouch.
   
Arsenal, who started the weekend in third place, face Hull in the day's late kick-off match.
   
Fulham, who beat United 2-0 at home last season, took the lead in the 22nd minute when former Liverpool midfielder Murphy dispossessed Paul Scholes and went on to let fly with a 25-yard shot that beat Tomasz Kuszczak.
   
United, still beset by injuries to their first-choice back four, fielded a makeshift defence featuring midfielders Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher, as well as youngster Ritchie de Laet.
   
Seconds into the second half, Fulham were 2-0 up after Zamora lashed in a half-volley following a knockdown from Clint Dempsey.
   
Zamora then set up Duff, who volleyed home 15 minutes from time.
   
Liverpool, already out of the Champions League, have won just four of their last 17 matches in all competitions and face a desperate fight to salvage a place in the Premier League's top four.
   
The Reds fell behind in the 33rd minute when Algeria defender Nadir Belhadj struck a ferocious volley for his first goal of the season.
   
Liverpool's day got worse when Argentina midfielder Mascherano was dismissed for an ugly lunge on Tal Ben Haim just before half-time.
   
French striker Frederic Piquionne piled on the misery for Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, who is certain to face more heavy criticism after this defeat, when he finished off a Kevin-Prince Boateng-inspired move in the 82nd minute.
   
Portsmouth, celebrating their second win under new manager Avram Grant, moved level on points with second-bottom West Ham, but remain behind the Hammers on goals scored.
   
Substitute John Carew scored the only goal of the game at Villa Park when he headed in Ashley Young's 61st minute cross.
   
At Ewood Park, Crouch's header on the stroke of half-time put Tottenham in front and the forward sealed victory seven minutes from time.
   
Roque Santa Cruz gave Manchester City a fourth-minute lead against Sunderland before Carlos Tevez made it 2-0 eight minutes later from the penalty spot.
   
But the visitors hit back through a John Mensah header before Jordan Henderson tied the match up at 2-2 from 14 yards.
   
Craig Bellamy restored City's lead with a curling shot but Sunderland replied again through Kenwyne Jones's 62nd-minute header, only for Santa Cruz to make it 4-3 seven minutes later.
   
And just before full-time, Sunderland's Michael Turner was sent-off for leading with his elbow.
   
Sunday's top-flight matches see in-form Birmingham travel to Everton while strugglers Wolves are at home to Burnley.
  

Date created : 2009-12-19

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