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United stumbles to 2nd straight defeat in England
LONDON (AP) - English Premier League leader Manchester United stumbled to a second straight defeat by losing 3-1 at fierce rival Liverpool on Sunday, and fifth-place Tottenham conceded a late goal to draw 3-3 at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt scored twice in the first half and again in the 65th to complete his first hat trick for Liverpool, ensuring United wasn’t able to capitalize on second-place Arsenal’s draw against Sunderland on Saturday.
United, which grabbed a late consolation through Javier Hernandez, remained three points above Arsenal and has played one game more. Manchester City, which beat Wigan 1-0 Saturday, is four points further back in third.
United, whose defense looked creaky at Anfield without center backs Nemanja Vidic (suspended) and Rio Ferdinand (injured), has lost three of its last five matches to keep the title race wide open.
Manager Alex Ferguson, facing a charge of improper conduct after his criticism of a referee following the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on Tuesday, refused to speak to the media after the game but Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was more than happy to.
“We know it’s a good victory for us,” said Dalglish, whose side moved above Bolton into sixth, six points behind Chelsea and Tottenham but having played more games.
“We know Manchester United are a great benchmark, but our season is not finished. We want to keep going.”
Steven Fletcher’s late header earned Wolves a deserved draw after England striker Jermain Defoe scored twice for Spurs, his first goals of the season. Tottenham drew level on points with fourth-place Chelsea, which visits Blackpool on Monday.
Ryan Giggs played his team record 607th league game for United, one more than Bobby Charlton from 1956-73.
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ Freddy Adu scored his first goal for Rizespor in the Turkish second division, connecting in the 32md minute for a 1-0 victory over Gaziantep.
The 21-year-old American, who joined the club at the end of the January transfer window, scored on a 22-yard, left-footed shot.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) _ Karim Benzema scored twice and Emmanuel Adebayor once as Real Madrid won 3-1 at Racing Santander and closed within seven points of Spanish league leader Barcelona.
With leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo sidelined by a leg injury, Madrid turned to Mesut Oezil to direct the offense and started Benzema and Adebayor together. Oezil set up goals by Adebayor in the 23rd and Benzema in the 27th. Kennedy Bakircioglu scored for Racing in the 70th.
By Joy Overbeck
Redemption by government is futile
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