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Late Torres goal sends Reds top of the table

FERNANDO Torres came off the bench to head a stoppage-time winner as Liverpool twice came from behind to reclaim top spot in the English Premier League with a thrilling 3-2 victory at Portsmouth on Saturday.

Dirk Kuyt, who like Torres and midfielder Xabi Alonso did not make manager Rafa Benitez's much-changed starting lineup, had also fired a late equalizer for Liverpool.

Benitez's team has 54 points from 25 matches, one point ahead of champion Manchester United which has two games in hand starting with yesterday's visit to West Ham United.

Chelsea left the field to the sound of booing as its fading title challenge took another blow in a 0-0 home draw with Hull City, six days after losing 0-2 at Liverpool.

The Londoners dropped to fourth, behind Aston Villa which won 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers.

One large banner unfurled by Chelsea fans at the final whistle called for Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari to be sacked.

Villa, which claimed a club-record seventh consecutive away league win thanks to goals from James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor, has 51 points from 25 games with Chelsea on 49.

"It was a wonderful victory," said manager Martin O'Neill after Villa's 10th away league win this season.

"I'm delighted with the record, the team has done magnificently."

Yesterday, Arsenal hung on for a 0-0 draw away at Tottenham Hotspur despite playing for nearly an hour with 10 men after Emmanuel Eboue's red card.

The Gunners, in danger of losing touch with the Premier League's top four, had midfielder Eboue sent off in the 36th minute, shortly after striker Emmanuel Adebayor went off injured.

Tottenham, with Robbie Keane starting as captain following his return to the north London club from his ill-fated spell at Liverpool, had two good chances in the second half while Luca Modric wasted the host's best opportunity in stoppage time.

Arsenal remains fifth, five points behind Chelsea while Spurs are 15th, just two points above the relegation places.


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