Tottenham Hotspur held off a strong fightback by Everton to beat the Merseysiders 2-1 on Sunday to regain fourth place in the English Premier League.

Roman Pavlyuchenko put Spurs ahead and Luka Modric doubled their lead but they had to hold out under intense pressure after Joseph Yobo pulled one back in the second half.

The win moved Tottenham back above Manchester City into fourth on goal difference, while Liverpool are just a point further back after a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Spurs dominated the first-half and could have been out of sight by half-time as Everton failed to settle.

Pavyluchenko put them ahead after 11 minutes when he finished off a shot by Jermain Defoe and Nico Kranjcar then set up Modric just inside the area and his brilliant lofted shot went in off the underside of the bar.

Everton came out fighting in the second half and Yobo pulled one back from close range after goalkeeper Huerelho Gomes made a hash of a cross.

Landon Donovan then missed a gilt-edged chance to equalise when he somehow found the side-netting from one yard and then Tottenham held out through six minutes of injury time to claim the win.

“Pav scores goals, that’s five goals in the last two-and-a-quarter games and you can’t ask more than that,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said.

“It’s good, it gives me a nice problem, I’ve got good frontmen.” Fernando Torres returned to the Liverpool starting line-up and got straight back on the scoring sheet with the winner as his side edged out Blackburn Rovers 2-1.

Steven Gerrard put Liverpool ahead early on but Blackburn equalised when Keith Andrews converted from the penalty spot after a handball by Jamie Carragher.

Torres then side-footed the second goal before half-time to restore Liverpool’s lead and Jose Reina made a fine save from Christopher Samba late on to seal the win and keep them in the race for the fourth Champions League place. Sunderland drew 0-0 with Fulham in the day’s other match.

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