Torres keeps Liverpool in the hunt after Chelsea suffer at the hands of Mike Riley; Stalemate in the Tyne-Wear derby

Liverpool 2 – Chelsea 0 (Premier League, February 1, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) (MOTD highlights here and interviews and analysis here.)  Xabi Alonso warmed the palms of Petr Cech in the early exchanges with a super strike from 25-yards. A poor half then transpired with Chelsea offering nothing up-front, and the Blues were lucky to see Ashley Cole’s deflection go wide of the post after Riera had tested Cech. Chelsea continued to look sloppy after the break, Alex almost contrived to give a simple goal away to Dirk Kuyt. Referee Mike Riley made a horrible decision sending off Frank Lampard after the Chelsea captain clearly won the ball in a tackle with Alonso. Liverpool continued the pound the Chelsea goal, Alonso’s deflected strike striking the bar and Yossi Benayoun forced another great save from Cech. Eventually the pressure paid off, Fernando Torres headed home Aurelio’s cross at the near post. And a poor mistake from Cole let in Benayoun, the ball fell to Torres and the Spaniard scored into the empty net.

Newcastle 1 – Sunderland 1 (Premier League, February 1, 2009) Sunderland struck first in the Tyne-Wear derby, Dean Whitehead’s dinked ball forward fell to Djibril Cisse who scored on the second attempt past Steve Harper. The Toon drew level midway through the second half, Taylor was pushed over in the box by Malbranque and Shola Ameobi rifled home the penalty.

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Wolves 3 – Watford 1 (Championship, January 31, 2009) Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Andrew Keogh put Wolves in the ascendancy, and although Adrian Mariappa pulled one back for Watford, Sam Vokes clinched the victory with a close-range header in the final minute.

Walsall 1 – Leeds 0 (League One, January 31, 2009) Sofiene Zaaboub delivered a great cross into the box and Troy Deeney headed his third goal in as many games.

Dagenham & Redbridge 0 – Darlington 1 (League Two, January 31, 2009) Pawel Abbott latched on to a long ball over the top after 74 minutes, and with Daggers screaming for an offside call, he confidently tucked his shot under Tony Roberts.