Liverpool take Premier League lead

Fernando Torres scored twice for Liverpool on Saturday to help lift his new team to the top of the Premier League with a 6-0 win over Derby.

updated: September 03, 2007 06:53 IST
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Fernando Torres scored twice for Liverpool on Saturday to help lift his new team to the top of the Premier League with a 6-0 win over Derby.

Liverpool was already ahead 2-0 at Anfield through goals by Xabi Alonso and Ryan Babel when Torres hit his first goal of the match. Alonso then scored his second and Andriy Voronin made it 5-0 before Torres rounded off the scoring in the 78th minute.

Liverpool now has 10 points from four games and leads Chelsea and Everton on goal difference. Everton kept pace with its local rival with a 2-1 win at Bolton, although Chelsea or Manchester City could take the lead Sunday.

"We played really well, we found space, passed well and had some excellent movement," Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. "It was good to see Fernando Torres keep scoring, while Xabi Alonso could have had a hat trick."

Chelsea is at Aston Villa on Sunday and will go top if it avoids defeat, while City is a point further back and can overtake the Blues if it gets a better result at Blackburn than Chelsea gets at Villa Park.

Manchester United closed to within two points of the leaders when it beat visiting Sunderland 1-0, while Tottenham's shaky start to the season continued with a 3-3 draw at London rival Fulham.

West Ham won 3-0 at Reading, Middlesbrough beat Birmingham 2-0, and Newcastle beat visiting Wigan 1-0.

Genuine contendor

Liverpool is trying to win the title for the first time since 1990 and underlined its status as a genuine contender by topping the standings for the first time in five years, even though captain Steven Gerrard and defender Jamie Carragher were again absent injured.

Liverpool was 2-0 up at halftime. Alonso struck a long-range free kick and Babel hit his first goal since joining from Ajax in the offseason when he shot after dodging two defenders.

Torres, Liverpool's record signing after his 20.3 million-pound transfer from Atletico Madrid, made it 3-0 in the 56th. He ran past three defenders in the box before shooting into the net.

Alonso then scored from 18 meters in the 69th, Voronin struck from close range in the 76th, and Torres rounded goalkeeper Stephen Bywater to complete the rout.

Everton needed a last-minute goal from defender Joleon Lescott to win at Bolton.

Ayegbeni Yakubu had put the visitors ahead in the 11th with his first goal for the club, scoring from eight meters (yards) from a pass by Andrew Johnson, before Nicolas Anelka made it 1-1 10 minutes into the second half with a right-foot volley.

Lescott, who also scored at Tottenham last month, sealed the win with a header from Thomas Gravesen's corner kick.

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane returned to his former club for the first time since leaving two years ago, but the Sunderland manager saw his new team beaten by a second-half goal from substitute Louis Saha.

Brazilian midfielder Anderson made his debut for United, but was taken off at halftime and replaced by Saha.

Saha had a volley pushed wide by goalkeeper Craig Gordon before he headed in a 72nd-minute corner from the left.

Tottenham has won just one of its opening five games after it let a 3-1 lead slip away at Fulham.

Spurs defenders Younes Kaboul and Gareth Bale hit their first goals for the club, with Dimitar Berbatov grabbing the other, before Alexei Smertin and Diomansy Kamara scored in the last 13 minutes to earn Fulham a point.

"We did what we have to do to get 3-1 and then we conceded an easy goal," Tottenham manager Martin Jol said. "This all has to do with good defending. We have to cut out this sort of rubbish and we will win most of our games."

Matthew Etherington scored twice to lead West Ham to victory at Reading, David Wheater and Stewart Downing scored for Middlesbrough, while England striker Michael Owen scored with three minutes left to earn Newcastle victory over Wigan.

Wigan defended doggedly following Kevin Kilbane's sending off, before Owen scored from a cross by Obafemi Martins.

"In the end, we needed some quality and some patience," Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce said.

Arsenal hosts Portsmouth in Sunday's other game.

Coventry topped the second-tier League Championship with 10 points, scoring twice in the last 10 minutes to beat struggling Preston 2-1.

Second-place Watford beat visiting Ipswich 2-0, while newly promoted Bristol City was third and two points off the top after a 1-0 win at last-place Sheffield Wednesday.