Football

Liverpool returns to top spot in Premier League

LONDON (AP) — Liverpool reclaimed the lead in England with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over West Ham while Arsenal slumped to another defeat against a top-five team with a 3-0 loss at Everton Sunday.

In Italy, Roma moved within five points of Serie A leader Juventus after beating Cagliari 3-1 and Saint-Etienne lost ground in the race for a Champions League spot in the French league. Here's a look at the action from the leading leagues in Europe:

ENGLAND

Steven Gerrard scored twice from the penalty spot as Liverpool stretched its Premier League winning streak to nine matches and returned to the top of the table. For once, the free-scoring Reds had to battle hard to claim the three points ahead of their much-anticipated clash against Manchester City in a meeting between the two main title contenders.

Defender Guy Demel scored West Ham's equalizer before Gerrard's second-half winner.

"It is going to be a magnificent atmosphere at Anfield," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. "The supporters really urged us on today and we want to see if we can get 10 in a row."

With five games remaining, Liverpool leads Chelsea by two points. Manchester City is four points off the pace but has two games in hand.

Earlier, Everton made Arsenal pay for their poor defending with strikes from Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku as well as an own goal from Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal has secured only two points from its last four matches as the Gunners remain in fourth place, but just one point above Everton, which has a match in hand and a better goal difference.

SPAIN

Malaga midfielder Ignacio Camacho scored two goals and earned a penalty for a third to lead his team to a 4-1 win over Granada in the Spanish league.

Malaga's first home win at La Rosaleda Stadium in five games lifted Bernd Schuster's side to 11th place — a provisional eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Also, Sevilla hosts Espanyol later.

Atletico Madrid leads the league by one point over Barcelona, with Real Madrid another two points behind after all three title rivals won on Saturday.

FRANCE

Saint-Etienne lost ground in the race for a Champions League spot by drawing at home with mid-table Nice 1-1. Center back Mathieu Bodmer nodded home a corner for Nice in the 58th minute but Saint-Etienne substitute Max-Alain Gradel converted a late penalty after midfielder Didier Digard was red-carded for blocking a goal attempt from Josuha Guilavogui with his hand.

Saint-Etienne trails third-place Lille by five points. Lyon kept its hopes for a European spot alive by edging relegation-threatened Valenciennes 2-1, pulling within four points of bitter rival Saint-Etienne.

Second-place Monaco was hosting Nantes late on Sunday.

GERMANY

Eintracht Braunschweig grabbed a lifeline in its fight against Bundesliga relegation with a 3-0 win over rival Hannover.

Domi Kumbela got the home side off to a good start in the 14th, scoring after Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler could only parry Ken Reichel's cross to his feet.

Havard Nielsen made it 2-0 with a fine finish inside the far post in the 21st, and Hannover's Andre Hoffmann was then sent off for kicking Mirko Boland from behind in the 62nd.

Jan Hochscheidt completed the victory by scoring in the 89th.

Braunschweig is still bottom but within touching distance of Nuremberg, Hamburger SV and Stuttgart with five games of the season remaining.

In Sunday's late game, mid-table sides Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim drew 1-1 in the German capital.

ITALY

Roma moved within five points of Serie A leader Juventus as Mattia Destro scored his first hat trick in a 3-1 win at Cagliari. Destro reinforced his case for a place in Italy's World Cup squad and bolstered Roma's title hopes ahead of Juventus' home match against relegation-threatened Livorno on Monday.

Fiorentina maintained its charge to a Europa League spot with a 2-1 win over Udinese, while Torino reignited its European hopes as Ciro Immobile moved back to the top of the goalscoring table with the winner in a 2-1 victory at Catania.

Torino is three points behind Lazio, which eased to a 2-0 win over Sampdoria, and one behind Atalanta, which fell to a 2-0 loss at home to lowly Sassuolo.

Parma hosts Napoli later, looking to move level with fifth-placed Inter.

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