Liverpool go top, Everton eye fourth
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Liverpool climbed to the top of the English Premier League, while Everton continued to snap at the heels of the top four on a good day for Merseyside as both red and blue sides of the city celebrated victories.

The reds returned to the top for the first time since Christmas with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. The last four teams who occupied that position on December 25 went on to win the title but, after back-to-back defeats immediately dropped them to fifth by the turn of the year, questions were asked about the Reds' credentials.

 Tottenham, despite being sixth and supposedly still fighting for the top four, hardly posed a challenge. Liverpool have now scored nine unanswered goals against them this season - beating their previous best in a single campaign from 1914/15.

As has been so often the case this season, especially at home, Liverpool's start was explosive. Just 100 seconds had elapsed from kick-off when they went ahead with a slick move which ended with Younes Kaboul putting into his own net. Philippe Coutinho sprayed the ball out to Raheem Sterling, back in the starting line-up for the first time in three matches, and overlapping full-back Glen Johnson drilled in a cross from which, had Kaboul not done the honours, Daniel Sturridge would have cleaned up from close range.

Luis Suarez, after two crosses from either flanks which first saw the ball sail marginally over the head of the waiting Sturridge and then drilled narrowly wide by Coutinho's volley, whipped a 25-yard free-kick over before producing a sublime strike for his 29th of the season.

Michael Dawson, only just on the pitch as a replacement for the injured Jan Vertonghen, tried to turn Steven Gerrard's clearance into the patch of fellow centre-back Kaboul only for Suarez to nip in, skip past the defender and drill an angled shot across Hugo Lloris and inside the far post - into the only spot the goalkeeper could be beaten. In doing so, he eclipsed Robbie Fowler's record of goals in a Premier League season with the promise of plenty more to come before the end of the campaign.

The Uruguayan's best chance of doubling his tally came when Kaboul's day continued its downward spiral. The Frenchman was robbed by Sterling, who crossed to the back post, where Suarez's header was clawed onto the crossbar by Lloris and hooked clear by Nabil Bentaleb.

Any chance Spurs had of rescuing the situation had to come from the next goal, but they were not given the remotest chance as, after Jordan Henderson ballooned over a cut-back from Sterling - who himself had only Lloris to beat - Coutinho made the result safe.

Young left-back Jon Flanagan's dummy of England international Aaron Lennon typified the confidence flowing through the side but, when he offloaded to Coutinho in midfield, there was still plenty to do. Despite the Brazilian playmaker advancing, Spurs saw fit to stand off and Coutinho made them pay with a low shot from 25 yards which easily beat Lloris for just his fourth goal of the season.

When Jordan Henderson's long-range free-kick deceived everyone in the penalty and bounced into the Tottenham goal, Liverpool's ascent to the top of the table was complete, while Spurs' hopes of a top four finish were arguably given the killer blow.

Blues maintain pressure
Everton meanwhile plundered three second-half goals at Craven Cottage that nudged Fulham closer to relegation with a 3-1 win. Only four points separate Everton from fourth-placed Arsenal - the rivals meet at Goodison next Sunday - with the Toffees also benefiting from having a game in hand.

The result leaves Fulham rooted to the foot of the table, five points adrift of safety and with just six games to secure a 14th successive season in the top flight. That prospect appears bleak, even though Norwich, Hull and Crystal Palace are due to visit Craven Cottage over the coming weeks.

Magath took the gamble of starting 17-year-old French striker Moussa Dembele and the teenager showed enough promise to suggest he was worthy of the German's faith. Dembele was little more than a spectator as Fulham made a lively start, Everton clearing a dangerous ball from John Arne Riise before Brede Hangeland sent a looping header narrowly wide.

A rare moment of panic in Fulham's defence came when Gerard Deulofeu crossed but the ball sped to safety with no Everton player able to reach it in time. The final chance of the first half arrived just seconds before the interval, but Dembele was unable to convert Lewis Holtby's delicate chip.

Fulham were left to rue the missed opportunity as just five minutes into the second half Everton edged ahead with a large slice of luck forcing the opener. A corner reached Steven Naismith, who had replaced the injured Ross Barkley at half-time, and he drilled a low shot towards goal from the edge of the penalty area. The ball struck Fulham defender William Kvist before being diverted into the net by the blameless Stockdale, who had been deceived by its sudden change in direction.

Just as Fulham looked in danger of being swamped, they responded with Ashkan Dejagah's superbly taken goal that saw the Iranian cut inside two defenders from the left flank and beat Tim Howard at the near post with a powerful 20-yard effort. Inspired by Dejagah's brilliant intervention, the Cottagers pressed for a second goal with Johnny Heitinga and Pajtim Kasami denied by successive saves from Howard.

Instead, the next goal came from Everton with Howard pumping the ball upfield to Aiden McGeady who released Mirallas with a precise pass. There was still plenty of work for Mirallas to do, with the Belgium winger holding off Hangeland and planting the ball into the bottom left corner.

Fulham's defence was in disarray and could have conceded a penalty when Heitinga hacked down Mirallas, but the ball still squirted to Naismith who put the result beyond doubt.