English Premier League: Liverpool gets back 2nd position
MANCHESTER: Liverpool beat Aston Villa 5-0 to get back the second position within one point of first-place Manchester United in English soccerís Premier League. Manchester City and Wigan also won.
Steven Gerrard scored three goals in his hat-trick in the first half to help Liverpool dominate the match. Now, Liverpool stand at second place with 64 points in the tournament.
Albert Riera also got goals at Anfield for the Reds, who are aiming to win Englandís league championship for a first time since 1990. Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel was red-carded after 64 minutes.
Defending champion United, which has played one match fewer than Liverpool, sees its lead cut following a 2-0 loss at Fulham yesterday. Third-place Chelsea was beaten 1-0 at Tottenham.
Kuyt fired Liverpool into a ninth-minute lead today, with Riera and Gerrard, from a penalty kick, establishing a 3-0 halftime advantage.
Gerrardís 20th goal of the season arrived after 50 minutes, and he then scored from the spot for a second time when referee Martin Atkinson adjudged that Friedel brought down Fernando Torres. Friedelís run of 182 consecutive Premier League games will now be ended by suspension.
Villa has lost three straight matches and trails Arsenal by three points in the race for fourth spot, the lowest position that secures Champions League qualification.
Elsewhere, a Micah Richards goal gave 10th-place Manchester City a 1-0 win against Sunderland, while Ben Watson scored in a 1-0 victory for Wigan against Hull City.