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Premier League: Liverpool and Arsenal show title credentials with wins over Manchester United and Tottenham respectively


Two important matches, two big derbies, two very different victories for Liverpool and Arsenal.

In the lunch time kick off, Liverpool went to old rivals Manchester United in fine form, and with the champions floundering on all fronts, had their best chance to win at Old Trafford in years.

The Merseysiders started on the front foot in a feisty opening to the game, with challenges flying in from both sets of players in one of the Premier League's fiercest derbies.

And it was Liverpool who justly took the league after Suarez flicked the ball past Rafael in the United box, only for the Brazilian to stick out a hand to stop the ball.

Rafael could have been off, having been booked just minutes before for a challenge on Gerrard, who incidentally stepped up to coolly slot past De Gea.

United rallied slightly towards the end of the half, with a front four of Rooney, Januzaj, Mata and Van Persie, and it was Rooney who had their best chance, shooting straight at Mignolet from the edge of the box.

United were hardly given a chance to get going in the second half before they conceded another penalty, this time Phil Jones barging over Joe Allen.

Gerrard stepped up again, and scored again, going to De Gea's left again, this time slotting low into the corner.

Any hopes of a comeback were quashed within minutes when United condeded another penalty. Captain Nemanja Vidic, playing Liverpool for the last time as a United player, bringing down the lively Sturridge, and seeing red for his trouble, having already been booked.

David Moyes' face said it all as Gerrard stepped up for the third time, but United were given a brief reprieve as Gerrard this time went to the right, only to see his effort cannon off the post.

It wasn't long before Liverpool got their third however, as Suarez found space in the box after Sturridge's cross come shot found him, and putting the ball away.

It was a game ultimately that United never stood a chance in, and they face another hard task ahead when they face Olympiakos on Wednesday.

For Liverpool, their tag as title contenders is now firmly placed, arguably the form side of the title cotenders, and now four points off Chelsea with a game in hand.

Arsenal had a chance to match Liverpool and move to within four points of the leaders in the North London derby at White Hart Lane.

For Spurs, a win was just as important as they looked to keep up their quest for a Champions League place, after a week in which they were undone by a calamity of errors against Chelsea, and outclassed by Benfica in midweek.

But it was Arsenal who went ahead in the second minute with an incisive breakaway from their own half. Rosicky broke out of defence and threaded through to Oxlade Chamberlain, whose effort was cleared, but it fell back to Rosicky who hit a 25 yard screamer across the Spurs goal, leaving Hugo Lloris with no chance.

Arsenal allowed Spurs to retain possession, but still looked dangerous on the break, with Chamberlain finding himself through on goal, only to fluff his lines. The midfielder had several more chances in the first half, but failed to find the target.

The Gunners had the least possession in a Premier League game all season this afternoon, as Spurs pressed and pressed them. The Arsenal defence were outstanding however, and Spurs rarely troubled their keeper.

Try as they might, Spurs could not find a way through however, and they are now nine points behind their North London rivals, and now look unlikely to oust any of the top four in their current form.

So the Premier League title race takes another turn. In a race that was supposedly between Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs at the start of the season, Liverpool and Arsenal have certainly shown United and Spurs the difference between title contenders and title pretenders.

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