Premier League: Reds go top, Blues down Shearer
Liverpool sustained their title challenge in the most dramatic fashion with substitute Yossi Benayoun scoring an injury-time winner against Fulham.
The victory puts Liverpool top of the Premier League table, ahead of Manchester United by two points but having played two games more ahead of United's game against Aston Villa on Sunday.
It had looked as if Liverpool would be unable to find a way past a seemingly-charmed Mark Schwarzer's goal with Andrea Dossena (twice), Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso all striking the woodwork in the first-half.
The Craven Cottage faithful felt certain their side would earn their eighth point of the season against the big four in west London but in the 91st minute, Ryan Babel headed inside, found Steven Gerrard with his pass who helped deflect it on to Benayoun. His shot from a sharp angle twelve yards out beat Mark Schwarzer to spark scenes of delirium on the Liverpool bench and keep the pressue on United.
Alan Shearer's glorious return to St James' Park was ruined by Chelsea after some calamitous defending gifted Frank Lampard an opening goal as Guus Hiddink's party-poopers secured a 2-0 win.
The same two Chelsea players had a hand in their second goal, both combining after Petr Cech's long kick to set up Florent Malouda. The defeat leaves the Magpies in the Premier League's bottom three and Shearer in no doubt as to the difficulty of the task facing him.
Emmanuel Adebayor's headed goal ten minutes into Arsenal's game against Manchester City set the tone for the afternoon as injuries to Vincent Kompany and Wayne Bridge forced City in to some unwanted early changes at the Emirates.
Cesc Fabregas' magnificent pass found Adebayor who rounded Shay Given to add a second shortly after the interval and Alex Song should have made it three with a header from six yards out that he put wide as Arsenal consolidated fourth spot ahead of Aston Villa's trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Middlesbrough are still without a win in the Premier League at Bolton and it is increasingly looking as if they will be denied the chance to rectify that statistic next season as a 4-1 defeat at the Reebok Stadium leaves Gareth Southgate's side further mired in relegation trouble.
Kevin Davies punished them after eight minutes with a right-footed shot which beat Brad Jones. Tuncay then had a goal disallowed for offside but the Turkish striker, showing no signs of fatigue following his midweek appearance for Turkey, set up Gary O'Neill who chipped Jussi Jaaskelainen to give Boro hope
It was short-lived though as Gary Cahill fired home from eight yards after poor defending from the visitors. Matt Taylor's 78th minute free-kick was then inexplicably allowed to drift through the Boro defence and Jones before a fourth from Ricardo Gardner out the boot in to Boro.
A flowing West Ham United move started by Robert Green and involving some neat play by David Di Michele and Luis Boa Morte ended with Junior Stanislas giving the Hammers the lead against Sunderland with a goal on his first start for the club.
James Tomkins added the second in a 2-0 win as Sunderland left the near post unguarded from a corner and Craig Gordon was unable to get across to keep out the youngster's header. Kenwyne Jones cleared off the line for the Black Cats as West Ham turned the screw in search of a third but they were unable to add to their goal tally.
Ricardo Fuller scored the first goal of the day in the Premier League as Stoke City beat bottom feeders West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at The Hawthorns. And the goal is not one Baggies defender Shelton Martis will be tuning in to watch tonight as his misjudgement allowed Fuller to nip behind him and fire past Scott Carson from 20 yards.
James Beattie's sixth goal in his tenth game for Stoke delivered a second, and possibly decisive, blow to the Baggies hopes of staying up with a left-footed shot that had enough power to beat Carson once more.
A treble substitution from Tony Mowbray failed to alter the course of things for West Brom with Chris Brunt's long-range effort cannoning off the crossbar the closest they came to scoring.
Blackburn Rovers rallied to earn themselves a 2-1 win over ten-man Spurs at Ewood Park with substitute Andre Ooijer netting the winner three minutes from time.
Robbie Keane added another goal to his re-opened Spurs account with a first-half penalty that gave the visitors the lead.
Sam Allardyce then sprung a surprise by replacing Jason Roberts with Ooijer at half-time and pushing Chistopher Samba up to help the attack.
The switch worked as Samba set up Benni McCarthy for an 81st minute equaliser just after Wilson Palacios received a second yellow card for Spurs and Ooijer was on hand to capatalise late on after some hesitant play from Heurelho Gomes in the Spurs goal.
Glen Johnson's dismissal for a second yellow card was the standout point of Portsmouth's 0-0 draw at Hull City as the England right-back received his marching orders in the 78th minute.
Herman Hreirdarsson's header which struck the post in the final seconds of a game was the closest either side came to breaking the stalemate in a result which pulls both sides closer in to the relegation battle following wins for Stoke and Blackburn.