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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reds thrash Newcastle, keep pace with United

LONDON (AP) Liverpool outplayed Newcastle 3-0 on Sunday to stay within three points of Manchester United in the Premier League title race and push the Magpies closer to relegation.

Yossi Benayoun and Dirk Kuyt gave Liverpool a 2-0 lead at halftime and Lucas Leiva added a third in the 87th.

Liverpool's 22nd victory of the season gives the team 77 points from 35 games. Defending champion United, which beat Middlesbrough 2-0 on Saturday, has 80 points with a game in hand and could match Liverpool's all-time total of 18 league titles.

"Manchester United are a good team with good players, and they will need to make two big mistakes to let us in," Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. "But I still believe they can be caught and they will make mistakes. All we can do is to continue to win our matches and see how they handle pressure."

The defeat leaves Newcastle deeper in relegation trouble in 18th and the 77th minute ejection of Joey Barton for a lunging foul on Xabi Alonso means he will miss the last three games through a suspension.

"He deserved to be sent off, he has let himself and the club down," said Newcastle manager Alan Shearer, who is likely to fine the volatile midfielder who has frequently been in trouble on and off the field.

Everton won 2-0 at Sunderland in Sunday's other games with strikes by Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini. The result lifted Everton to fifth above Aston Villa.

Birmingham City returned to the Premier League when it captured the second promotion spot in the League Championship by winning 2-1 at Reading on Sunday.

Kaka fuels Milan

MILAN , Italy (AP) Kaka scored one goal and set up the other in AC Milan's 2-0 victory at Catania to stay seven points behind Inter Milan in the Serie A title race.

The Brazilian star set up Filippo Inzaghi for a 27th minute strike and added the second in the 52nd. Despite two goals from Pavel Nedved, Juventus was held 2-2 by next-to-last Lecce, for whom Jose Castillo scored a last minute equalizer.

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