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2018 World Cup qualifiers

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling scores winner

Forward Raheem Sterling scored his first Liverpool goal to give manager Brendan Rodgers his maiden home league win against former club Reading.

Sterling, the England Under-21 international at 17 years and 317 days old, became the club's second-youngest Premier League goalscorer behind Michael Owen.

His strike should not have been the Reds' sole effort but such are their problems up front this season -- prior to kick-off only Sunderland (two) and bottom club QPR (one) had scored fewer at home -- winless Reading remained in the game right up until the final whistle.

The first half was virtually one-way traffic but the hosts lacked a cutting edge, too often over-complicating matters with one pass too many in and around the penalty area.

Sterling found himself in the best attacking positions on several occasions but managed to get a shot off on target just once and Alex McCarthy easily held.

During an injury break for Jem Karacan, who was eventually forced off by the effect of Steven Gerrard's block tackle, Rodgers took the opportunity to pass on some advice to Sterling.

Whatever he said appeared to have the desired effect as in the 29th minute the England Under-21 international finally made the breakthrough.

Suarez's delicate flick-on was seized by the teenager who raced through the inside-right channel and fired a shot across McCarthy and into the far corner of the net.

"It was a brilliant goal," said Rodgers. "We have been asking him, Suso and the other wide players to try to break the line of defenders and he's done that. We've been doing a lot of work on that on the training field but all the credit goes to him because he's got to identify the moment to go in. It wasn't an easy chance because he is going away from goal, has a quick defender tracking him and to adjust his feet and have the technique to shoot across the keeper is wonderful. He's a terrific talent and he's got a good head on young shoulders."

Suarez, who has been at the head of an ongoing diving conversation, heard a strong reaction every time he was involved in a collision. He had seen one challenge by Kaspars Gorkss go unpunished, from which the striker curled a shot onto the roof of the net, and another given -- prompting a sarcastic standing ovation from Anfield before he drilled the free kick into the wall.

But the third instance, just before halftime, was the most contentious with Suarez going to ground under a challenge from his Latvian marker close to the byline.

Referee Roger East waved play on and then was soon waving away protests from a cluster of Liverpool players as he whistled for the interval.

Suarez, accompanied by the club doctor, gingerly hobbled off well after both teams had left the pitch but returned for the second half, which was less than a minute old when Sterling should have made it 2-0 having turned smartly in the penalty area but fired straight at the goalkeeper.

Elsewhere Saturday in the Premier League, Southampton's leaky defense cost it again as West Ham raced to a 4-1 victory at Upton Park, with all the goals coming in the second half.

It took the hosts less than three minutes of the second half to take control, Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan netting, but Adam Lallana pegged back in the 63rd minute.

However, Jose Fonte handled in the 72nd minute to give Noble the chance of a second from the spot before Modibo Maiga scored his first Premier League goal three minutes from time.

Two out-of-form teams met at the Liberty Stadium and it was Swansea who ended its five-game winless run with a 2-1 victory over Wigan.

Pablo Hernandez broke the deadlock in the 65th minute and Michu added a second two minutes later. Emmerson Boyce netted with a neat back heel to make it three goals in five minutes but Wigan could not find an equalizer.

It was a quiet afternoon at Craven Cottage for 84 minutes but Chris Baird ensured it was Fulham who took the three points with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.


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