Alonso gives Reds upper hand at the break

Alonso gives Reds upper hand at the break

Liverpool looked set to return to the top of the Premier League – for a few hours at least – after going in at half-time 1-0 up at Hull.

Xabi Alonso’s goal seconds before the break put Rafael Benitez’s side on course for a win which would put them ahead of Manchester United on goal difference with United facing Tottenham in the day’s late kick-off.

The Reds had an early scare when Fernando Torres appeared to have pulled up with an injury but the Spaniard played on and should have scored in the sixth minute, Boaz Myhill tipping his effort over the bar after saving from Yossi Benayoun.

Xabi Alonso made the most of his opportunity on the stroke of half-time though, hitting his free-kick straight into the wall but then lashing the rebound into the roof of the net.

Third-placed Chelsea were drawing 0-0 with West Ham.

The Blues played most of the first half at Upton Park like they were the home side, dominating possession in all areas of the field, but it was Kieron Dyer who missed the best opportunity of the game, squandering a one-on-one with Petr Cech on 20 minutes.

Robinho scored his second goal in two matches to put Manchester City a goal up at half-time at FA Cup finalists Everton.

The Toffees felt aggrieved after their forwards appeared to have been impeded when Tony Hibbert delivered a free-kick into the City box on 35 minutes.

But from the resulting clearance the ball was played through to Robinho, who fired through Tim Howard’s legs.

Fulham continued to look good in the race for a Europa League spot, going in a goal up at the break against Stoke at Craven Cottage.

Roy Hodgson’s side broke from their own box on the half hour and the ball fell to Erik Nevland, who played a one-two with Andy Johnson before slotting it coolly past Thomas Sorensen.

At the other end of the table, Sunderland’s hopes of moving further away from the drop zone were dealt a blow at the Hawthorns with bottom side West Brom taking a 1-0 lead into the break.

The Baggies went ahead against the run of play five minutes before the break courtesy of a swinging left-foot volley from Jonas Olsson.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa looked set to ease their recent slump in form, Ashley Young’s goal giving them a 1-0 half-time lead at Bolton.

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