Gerrard penalty keeps Liverpool on top

Steven Gerrard converted a penalty to protect Liverpool's three-point English Premier League lead.

updated: October 30, 2008 10:38 IST
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Steven Gerrard converted a penalty to protect Liverpool's three-point English Premier League lead, but the north London derby provided Wednesday's most dramatic moments with Tottenham salvaging a 4-4 draw at Arsenal.

Liverpool took 76 minutes to break Portsmouth's resolve with Gerrard's spot kick inflicting a 1-0 loss on Tony Adams' new side.

In his second game in charge, Harry Redknapp continued his quest to lift Spurs off the bottom of the league, with two goals in the last five minutes clinching a point at Arsenal. Substitute Aaron Lennon leveled in the fourth minute of injury time.

Cristiano Ronaldo silenced his critics by scoring both goals in defending champion Manchester United's 2-0 victory over West Ham.

After four straight wins, newcomer Hull was finally humbled 3-0 by Chelsea. Aston Villa moved into the top four at Hull's expense with a 3-2 victory over Blackburn.

Liverpool tops the standings with 26 points, with Chelsea three points off the pace. Arsenal and Villa are three points further adrift on 20 points.

Manchester City again struggled to match the expectations of its wealthy Abu Dhabi investors with a 2-0 loss at Middlesbrough; Marouane Fellaini scored in the 90th minute to give Everton a 1-0 victory at Bolton; Stoke overcame Sunderland 1-0; and Fulham beat Wigan 2-0.

Liverpool looked destined to squander the advantage gained by Sunday's first victory at Chelsea in four years until the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Portsmouth midfielder Bouba Diop used his hands to block Sami Hyypia's goalbound header from Fabio Aurelio's corner.

Pompey goalkeeper David James dived correctly but couldn't stop Gerrard's penalty ending up in the bottom corner.

Returning to Arsenal for the first time as a Spurs player, David Bentley silenced jeers at Emirates with a stunning opening strike.

Bentley received the ball from Jermaine Jenas and controlled it on his chest before unleashing a dipping volley from 39 yards (meters) over Manuel Almunia.

Bentley's good work was undone in the 37th by Tottenham's shaky goalkeeping.

Racing off his line to punch Robin van Persie's corner clear, Heurelho Gomes made contact with Jenas' head while Mikael Silvestre leapt to nod home .

The second half wasn't even a minute old when Arsenal went ahead from another setpiece delivered by Van Persie and sent past Gomes with a glancing header from William Gallas.

Gomes gifted Arsene Wenger's side its third in the 64th when the onrushing goalkeeper was chipped by Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Adebayor helped the ball over the line.

Within three minutes, though, Almunia blundered in the opposite goal by spilling Tom Huddlestone's shot and Darren Bent pounced.

Tottenham's hopes of a comeback seemed to be wiped out inside a minute when Van Persie made it 4-2 from an acute angle _ until the late recovery.

With a minute remaining Jenas tapped the ball around Silvestre and Almunia was helpless to block the fierce shot.

Then deep into stoppage time, Lennon scored from a rebound after Luka Modric hit the post to maintain Redknapp's unbeaten start since replacing Juande Ramos on Sunday as Spurs manager. While still lodged to the foot of the table, Bolton and Wigan are just two points ahead.

Hull was expected to be in the relegation zone at this stage but gatecrashed the top four with a run of victories against Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham and West Brom.

Phil Brown's high-flying side was given a harsh reality check as it was dismantled by Chelsea _ beginning in the third minute when Frank Lampard's left-footed chip flew into the top corner.

Although it took Nicolas Anelka until five minutes after the break to double the visitor's advantage in northeast England, Florent Malouda tapped over from three yards (meters) in the 73rd after being picked out by Ashley Cole to put the victory beyond doubt.

While Carlos Tevez made a rare start for Manchester United, it was Ronaldo determined to dazzle to prove he can still match last season's 42-goal haul after ankle surgery and uncertainty about his Old Trafford future.

The Portugal winger provided the evidence inside the first half hour, securing United's 2-0 victory and taking his tally this season to five.

Nani provided a precise cross for Ronaldo to score in the 16th and Dimitar Berbatov set him up to tap home from close range in the 30th.