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Liverpool moves to within one point of United

Liverpool, England (Sports Network) - Steven Gerrard scored three times to lead Liverpool to a resounding 5-0 win over Aston Villa at Anfield on Sunday, reducing Manchester United's lead over the Reds to just one point.

United still has a game in hand but they have lost their last two games, while Liverpool is flying with four straight wins by a combined 15-1 score.

Aston Villa's Champions League hopes take another huge hit with the loss and the Villains are now three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal after a five- game winless skid.

The game got off to a great start for the hosts as Gerrard's free kick was deflected off the crossbar by the head of Xabi Alonso and Dirk Kuyt smashed home the rebound after eight minutes.

John Carew almost had a response for Villa in the 25th minute when he turned a strong header on goal that forced Pepe Reina to make a great reaction save, but Liverpool went up two goals 10 minutes later.

Reina punted the ball long and the Villa defense failed to deal with it, allowing the ball to bounce once while Alberto Riera ran under it and ripped a volley off the underside of the crossbar and in.

The lead then grew to 3-0 before halftime as Riera got into the box and was brought down by Villa's Nigel Reo-Coker, allowing Gerrard to step to the penalty spot and send goalkeeper Brad Friedel the wrong way.

Things got worse shortly after the break when Gerrard found the bottom right corner from a free kick at the edge of the area, and Friedel's nightmare afternoon was complete when he brought down Fernando Torres inside the box, earning himself a straight red card.

Gerrard then completed his hat trick with another successful penalty kick, capping another comprehensive win for Liverpool.

Manchester City moved into 10th with a 1-0 win over 10-man Sunderland as George McCartney was sent off after 15 minutes, while Robinho missed a penalty kick five minutes later. However, City did eventually go ahead with Micah Richards scoring his first goal of the season in the 56th minute to win the game.

Sunday's other contest saw Wigan take over seventh place as Ben Watson scored in the 84th minute to give the Latics a 1-0 win over Hull City.

03/22 14:32:44 ET


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