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Substitute Torres earns Liverpool late win

  • Story Highlights
  • Fernando Torres scores a late header to give Liverpool 3-2 win at Portsmouth
  • Liverpool recover from 1-0 and 2-1 down before substitute Torres seals the win
  • The result puts Liverpool top ahead of Manchester United's match on Sunday
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(CNN) -- Liverpool breathed new life into their Premier League title bid as substitute Fernando Torres struck deep into injury-time to seal a thrilling 3-2 win at Portsmouth and return the Reds to the top of the table.

Fernando Torres celebrates his last-gasp winner as Liverpool return to the top of the Premier League table.

Fernando Torres celebrates his last-gasp winner as Liverpool return to the top of the Premier League table.

Portsmouth, without a win in eight league games coming into the match, twice led through David Nugent and Hermann Hreidarsson but were pegged back thanks to goals from Alvaro Arbeloa and Dirk Kuyt.

Kuyt also had an effort disallowed for a debatable offside but that proved academic as Torres popped up with a header at the end to seal the three points which take Liverpool a point clear of Manchester United at the summit, albeit having played two games more.

After a goalless first-half, Portsmouth took the lead when David Nugent fired home after being put through by Peter Crouch, only for Crouch to hand Liverpool an equalizing goal.

The former Reds striker played a poor back-pass to keeper David James, who was forced to handle the ball. From the resulting free-kick in the area, Arbeloa buried his fierce shot into the corner.

However, Pompey fought back and Hreidarsson put them back ahead when his unmarked header bounced over goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

But yet again, Liverpool would not be denied and a mistake from Sylvain Distin, who let a long ball go under his foot, allowed Dirk Kuyt to fire home from an acute angle.

A draw seemed a fair result, but Torres -- who was left on the bench by manager Rafa Benitez -- powered home a bullet header to send the travelling fans into raptures.

Elsewhere, Chelsea fading challenge continued as they dropped to fourth place after being held to a 0-0 draw by a well-drilled Hull side at Stamford Bridge.

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Ricardo Quaresma made his Chelsea debut but failed to inspire the hosts to victory, while Phil Brown's Tigers were not afraid to take the game to their opponents and could have nicked all the points in the second half when Dean Marney fired just wide.

A section of the home support chanted 'You don't know what you're doing' at coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and then booed the team off at the final whistle.

Chelsea's costly slip allowed Aston Villa to move above them into third place after Martin O'Neill's men defeated Blackburn 2-0 at Ewood Park.

James Milner opened the scoring after 27 minutes while Gabriel Agbonlahor made sure of the victory in injury-time.

Newcastle produced a display to lift the spirits of manager Joe Kinnear, who was taken to hospital in the morning after feeling unwell at the team hotel.

With Chris Hughton in charge, Newcastle posted a 3-2 win over West Brom courtesy of some abysmal defending by Tony Mowbray's side.

A defensive lapse by Leon Barnett allowed Damien Duff in to open the scoring for Newcastle after just two minutes, but Marc-Antoine Fortune levelled moments later.

Peter Lovenkrands restored the visitors' lead after nine minutes following more errors in the Albion back line, while Steven Taylor (41) made it three when he headed home Ryan Taylor's inswinging corner.

West Brom reduced the deficit through Fortune's second after 73 minutes but the hosts could not find an equalizer which would have lifted them from the foot of the table.

On-loan Manchester City striker Jo scored twice as Everton ended a three-game winless run in the league with a 3-0 victory over Bolton at Goodison Park.

Everton led at the break thanks to Mikel Arteta's 40th-minute penalty, awarded after Jo went down in the area under a challenge from Andy O'Brien.

Jo added to the Toffees' lead after 49 minutes when he pulled a high ball down into his path on the edge of the area and slotted home under Jussi Jaaskelainen, while the Brazilian increased the margin of victory with a late penalty.

Sunderland defeated 10-man Stoke 2-0 at the Stadium of Light thanks to late goals from Kenwyne Jones and David Healy. Jones struck after 78 minutes, rising to head home Andy Reid's deep cross, although Stoke's former Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen should have saved at his near post.

Healy made sure of the three points with the Black Cats' second in injury-time.

Stoke played the final 25 minutes a man down after Matthew Etherington saw red for an off-the-ball clash with Danny Collins.

Wigan's clash with Fulham ended 0-0, while the day's early kick-off saw Shay Given pull off a string of important stops on his Manchester City debut as Mark Hughes' side posted a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Craig Bellamy scored the only goal at Eastlands after 51 minutes as Gareth Southgate's ailing Boro side saw their winless streak extend to 13 games.

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