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By ESPN Staff
Jan 2, 2008

Premier League: Reds draw, Bolton late show

Liverpool's Barclays Premier League title hopes were dealt a potentially fatal blow as Wigan claimed an unlikely 1-1 draw at Anfield.

After wasting a host of chances in the opening period Rafael Benitez's side finally broke the deadlock four minutes into the second period as Fernando Torres slid home to finish Steve Finnan's inviting cross for his 16th goal of the season.

Liverpool were made to pay for their inability to kill off the game, though, as Titus Bramble fired home a loose ball from the edge of the penalty area after 79 minutes.

The pressure on Sam Allardyce looks set to intensify after Newcastle slipped to a sorry 2-0 home defeat against Manchester City.

Elano added to his already burgeoning reputation with a goal of genuine class seven minutes before the break to put the visitors ahead.

The Brazilian started the move on the edge of Newcastle's penalty area with a deft backheel before latching onto Darius Vassell's lay-off to steer the ball past Shay Given into the bottom left corner.

Michael Owen made his long-awaited return from injury at the break and saw an effort diverted around the post by Joe Hart with his first touch.

City netted their second with 14 minutes remaining when Gelson Fernandes lashed home from just inside the area after Kelvin Etuhu's neat lay-off.

It was a tale of two penalties at Ewood Park as Blackburn recorded a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

Roy Keane's side wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead five minutes after the break as skipper Dean Whitehead missed from the spot.

Daryl Murphy was bundled to the ground following a challenge from Christopher Samba but Whitehead's insipid spot-kick was easily kept out by Brad Friedel.

The Black Cats were made to pay the ultimate price for their profligacy as Benni McCarthy lashed home from the spot just five minutes later after Samba's volley had crashed against Danny Higginbotham's raised arm.

Sunderland's hopes of finding a way back into the game were all but ended with 20 minutes remaining when Dwight Yorke was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Derby remain rooted to the bottom of the table and 10 points away from safety after Stelios Giannakopoulos scored the only goal of the game in stoppage time for Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.