Liverpool back on top

Liverpool regained top spot in the English Premier League on Saturday as they beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0 at Anfield, while Arsenal charged back into the title race with a stirring victory over champions Manchester United.

Robbie Keane scored his first two Premier League goals as Rafael Benitez's side moved three points clear of Chelsea, who play away to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.

Hull City, who have made a superb start to their first season in the top flight, were upended at home by Bolton Wanderers, while Portsmouth and Everton both came from behind to secure victories.

Liverpool were buoyed by the return of Fernando Torres to their squad after six matches out through injury, but the Spaniard was on the bench as Keane was partnered by Dirk Kuyt in attack.

And the Irishman finally broke his Premier League scoring drought, scoring the first 11 minutes before half-time, chipping the goalkeeper after a nice pass from Steven Gerrard.

And two minutes before the break, the Irishman ran on to Fabio Aurelio's pass, rounded Scott Carson in the West Brom goal and slipped the ball into the empty net for the second.

Torres enjoyed a brief cameo appearance late on, but it was another Spaniard, full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, who finished things off with a lovely left-foot strike after a slick move in injury time.

At the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal moved above United into third after a sirring performance in an outstanding match.

Dimitar Berbatov had a goal ruled out early on for offside and Wayne Rooney had a chance, while at the other end, Nicklas Bendtner missed a great opportunity.

But on 22 minutes, Arsenal were ahead as United only half-cleared a Cesc Fabregas ball and Nasri's left-foot volley took a wicked deflection off Gary Neville to take it past Edwin van der Sar.

Arsenal withstood a strong appeal for a penalty against Gael Clichy for a hand-ball as they kept their lead to half-time.

And Arsene Wenger's side doubled their lead three minutes into the second half after a lovely move that ended with Nasri lashing the ball into the corner.

United chased a goal to get themselves back into the match and Cristiano Ronaldo missed a great chance, volleying wide from close range.

As time ticked away, it looked as if United would not get back into it, but defender Rafael pulled one back with a sensational finish on 89 minutes, chesting the ball down and smashing a left-foot volley into the corner.

Six minutes of time was added on but Arsenal hung on to take all three points, the perfect answer to some critics who had suggested Wenger could quit the club after their recent defeat by Stoke City and their 4-4 draw with Tottenham, when they squandered a 4-2 lead.

"I can take criticism," Wenger said "I am in a job where you have to take that. There is only one answer - with your performance on the pitch.

"I knew today that was a big game for the future of the team. To keep in the race, you need to win big games like that - and it is vital for a young team."

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he believed his side had perhaps deserved a share of the points.

"It was fans' football - playground stuff. They attacked, we attacked - but they got the goal that mattered," he said.

"The number of chances we had was incredible. I thought we could have had a penalty on half-time, for a clear hand-ball by Clichy. But when you need a little break, you don't always get it."

Hull City suffered their third straight defeat as they were beaten 1-0 at home by Bolton Wanderers, Matty Taylor's goal enough to lift Gary Megson's side into mid-table.

Jack Collison put a dominant West Ham ahead against Everton just after half-time, but Joleon Lescott equalized seven minutes from time and Louis Saha scored two goals in four minutes late in the game to seal victory for David Moyes's side.

Tony Adams earned his first points since taking over as Portsmouth manager as his side came from behind to win 2-1 at Sunderland, where Jermain Defoe scored a late penalty.

The day's other match, between Wigan Athletic and Stoke City ended in a goalless draw. dpa scl adh jb bve

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