Stoke City 0 - 0 Liverpool

Premier League leaders Liverpool could only grind out a 0-0 draw at struggling Stoke City on Saturday, missing the chance to open a six-point gap at the top.

Manager Rafael Benitez launched a verbal volley at Manchester United counterpart Alex Ferguson on Friday but his team were tame by comparison and apart from two late Steven Gerrard efforts that hit the woodwork the visitors were second best. Chelsea, in second, can move within a point of the lead if they beat the champions at Old Trafford.

Stoke, now out of the relegation zone, were the better side in the first half. Long-throw specialist Rory Delap smashed one shot against the crossbar while Ryan Shawcross had a goal ruled out. Benitez started with strikers Fernando Torres and Robbie Keane on the bench while Gerrard, playing a more advanced role, struggled to make an impact.

Dave Kitson went close for Stoke in the second half when he headed a Delap throw-in over the bar and Glenn Whelan shaved the post with a fierce free kick. Liverpool came alive once Torres was introduced and Gerrard could have snatched victory. First he swerved a free kick on to the bar and then he found the outside of the post with an angled shot in the dying seconds.

Stoke City 0 - 0 Liverpool Highlights

Aston Villa 2 - 1 West Bromwich Albion

Aston Villa edged a narrow win over West Bromwich Albion to climb above Manchester United into third spot in the Barclays Premier League.

Curtis Davies headed the opening goal against his old club. Gabriel Agbonlahor claimed the second but it went down as an own goal as his cross-shot went in off Baggies goalkeeper Scott Carson who was on loan at Villa last season. James Morrison pulled one back early in the second half to set up a tense finale but it proved merely scant consolation.

Villa are now unbeaten in nine league matches, from which they have taken 21 points, and there is a momentum about the team which suggests they could clinch a Champions League spot.

Arsenal 1 - 0 Bolton Wanderers

Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner came off the bench to fire a late winner as Arsenal finally ended Bolton Wanderers''s stubborn resistance at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners had dominated possession, but failed to unlock the visitors, who put 10 men behind the ball. However, just when time looked to be running out, Bendtner arrived at the far post to volley in a first goal since November and renew hopes Arsene Wenger's men can force their way back into the race for the Barclays Premier League title.

Following Aston Villa's win over West Bromwich Albion, the Gunners were again playing catch-up on the top four, but moved level on points with Manchester United who host Chelsea tomorrow and already have two matches in hand.

Other results;
January 10
Aston Villa 2 - 1 West Bromwich Albion
Arsenal 1 - 0 Bolton Wanderers
Everton 2 - 0 Hull City
Fulham ? - ? Blackburn Rovers (Postp.)
Middlesbrough 1 - 1 Sunderland
Newcastle U. 2 - 2 West Ham United
Portsmouth ? - ? Manchester City (Postp.)
Stoke City 0 - 0 Liverpool

January 11
Wigan Athletic ? - ? Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United ? - ? Chelsea


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