Liverpool go five clear, Arsenal and Everton win

Liverpool go five clear, Arsenal and Everton win
Liverpool's Luis Suarez (R) is fouled by Norwich City's Michael Turner during their English Premier League football match at Carrow Road in Norwich, April 20, 2014.

LONDON - Liverpool's dream of a first title in 24 years moved closer to reality after a 3-2 win at lowly Norwich City on Sunday opened up a five-point lead over second-placed Chelsea with three matches remaining.

Arsenal beat Hull City 3-0 in a dress-rehearsal for next month's FA Cup final to stay one point ahead of Everton, who beat Manchester United 2-0 on David Moyes's return to Goodison Park, in the race for fourth spot.

Two Raheem Sterling goals and Luis Suarez's 30th league strike of the season helped Liverpool to their 11th consecutive Premier League victory and confirmed their place in the Champions League next season.

They moved to 80 points, five ahead of Chelsea who suffered a shock 2-1 defeat by bottom club Sunderland on Saturday. Third-placed Manchester City, on 71 points and with two matches in hand, play West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

Liverpool have not won the title since 1990, two years before the Premier League began, and can move to the brink of ending that drought when they meet Chelsea at Anfield next Sunday.

"At the beginning of the season, I think everyone thought it would be a struggle for us to even get to fourth," manager Brendan Rodgers told reporters.

"It shows the magnitude of the effort the players have put in to have at least guaranteed that at this stage and have Champions League football at Anfield again next season."

Sterling put the Reds ahead after four minutes when he received the ball from Suarez, shifted right and unleashed a shot from outside the box that grazed Michael Turner, giving John Ruddy no chance.


He turned provider for the second on 11 minutes when he sent in a low cross and Suarez placed the ball inside the far post to become the first Liverpool player since Ian Rush in 1986-87 to score 30 league goals in a season.

Norwich pulled one back after the break through Gary Hooper, but Sterling restored Liverpool's buffer with another deflected effort before Robert Snodgrass ensured a nervous last 13 minutes with a second for the hosts.

After a sluggish start Arsenal gradually imposed themselves on Hull, taking the lead after a neat passing move involving Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla allowed Ramsey to steer the ball home after 30 minutes, his first goal since November having missed three months through injury.

Podolski doubled Arsenal's lead on 45 minutes, volleying in after Ramsey's chested layoff from Olivier Giroud's cross and the German scored his fifth in as many matches after the break, following up after Steve Harper had blocked Ramsey's effort.

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