Spurs stride as Reds misfire
Tottenham retained their place in the English Premier League's top four with a 2-0 win over Fulham on Tuesday as Liverpool's hopes of securing a return to the UEFA Champions League next season suffered another setback.
Despite the return of club captain Steven Gerrard from injury, Rafael Benitez's men were listless in a goalless stalemate at struggling Wolves. The draw leaves Liverpool three points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham, who were always in control of their London derby clash with Fulham at White Hart Lane.
Harry Redknapp's side went ahead mid-way through the first half through Peter Crouch, who fired home after being teed up by Luka Modric following a wonderful piece of improvisation from the Croatia playmaker. David Bentley made sure of the win with a second-half free-kick that found the net with the help of a deflection off Bjorn Helge Riise which wrong-footed Fulham's Australian goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer.
"I think we deserved to win the game," Crouch said after the game. "We had the better chances, we were the better side. If you don't score early on you get nervous so I'm glad to have done that, and after the second one we started playing the kind of football we can play. Liverpool are a big big team and they're going to be up there come the end of the season so for them to drop points is good news for us."
At the other end of the table, it was a memorable night for Bolton, who claimed their first league win under new manager Owen Coyle, at the expense of his former club Burnley. Lee Chung-Yong's 35th-minute strike proved enough to earn Bolton a 1-0 win that lifted them out of the relegation zone. As a result of West Ham and Wolves both picking up a point apiece, Burnley fell into the drop zone for the first time this season.
West Ham had to settle for a 1-1 draw at bottom club Portsmouth after taking the lead at Fratton Park. The Hammers had gone ahead seven minutes into the second-half. Alessandro Diamanti curled a corner from the right towards the back post and, after it had been deflected goalwards by Pompey defender Younes Kaboul, the ball ended up in the net off the thigh of Matthew Upson.
The Hammers looked strong favourites to go on and take all three points at that stage, but Portsmouth snatched an equaliser with just under quarter of an hour left. John Utaka played in Danny Webber and the substitute slotted his finish through the legs of Hammers' goalkeeper Robert Green for his first Premier League goal.