Liverpool stay in the hunt

Liverpool stayed firmly in the hunt for a first league title in 24 years as superb strikes from Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge fired them to a 2-1 win over an obdurate Sunderland side at Anfield on Wednesday.

The Merseyside club's seventh successive Premier League victory, achieved without the swaggering attacking play that has lit up their recent performances, moved them back ahead of Manchester City into second place one point behind Chelsea.  After struggling to get into their stride against a stubborn Sunderland rearguard, a powerful Gerrard free kick and a curled effort from Sturridge earned Liverpool a two-goal advantage before Ki sung-Yueng pulled one back 14 minutes from time to ensure a nervy end to the game.

Defeat left struggling Sunderland three points adrift of safety in 18th place in the relegation battle as West Ham United moved further clear of danger with a 2-1 home win over 10-man Hull City. The east London club suffered the ignominy of being booed despite taking all three points, heightening the tension between manager Sam Allardyce and the Upton Park crowd.

The confidence that is bubbling to the surface in Liverpool was typified by the hordes of flag-waving fans and puffing plumes of red smoke that greeted the Liverpool team bus as it pulled up at an Anfield sizzling with anticipation.

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