Rampant City in mood to inflict killer blow on Arsenal

In-form Liverpool enhanced their Premier League title challenge and closed to within a point of leaders Chelsea after overcoming a stubborn Sunderland side 2-1 at Anfield on Wednesday.

Steven Gerrard’s superb 39th-minute free-kick broke the deadlock and Daniel Sturridge doubled the hosts’ lead early in the second half, only for Ki Sung-yueng’s late header to leave Liverpool hanging on.

When the final whistle did come, to roars of relief from the home fans, it gave Brendan Rodgers’s side a seventh consecutive victory and took them above Manchester City, who still have two games in hand.

Sunderland, meanwhile, remain third from bottom, three points from safety, but with a game in hand on both of the two sides immediately above them.

In the day’s other game, West Ham United edged 10-man Hull City 2-1 at Upton Park to end a run of three straight defeats and ease their relegation fears.

Mark Noble put West Ham ahead from the spot in the 26th minute after visiting goalkeeper Allan McGregor had been sent off for a foul on Mohamed Diame.

Nikica Jelavic deflected in a Tom Huddlestone free-kick early in the second half to level the scores, but a 54th-minute own goal by James Chester gave West Ham victory.

Unstoppable City

Manchester City will look to compound Arsene Wenger’s woes when they visit the Emirates stadium this weekend, knowing a win would take them closer to the Premier League title and inflict a potentially fatal blow to Arsenal’s chances.

Wenger’s side have capitulated in recent weeks and a win for Manuel Pellegrini’s team in London would almost certainly leave the battle for the Premier League crown as a three-way race between City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

City lie third with 66 points and they will look to build on their impressive 3-0 win at bitter local rivals Manchester United on Tuesday.

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea travel to struggling Crystal Palace and second-placed Liverpool, only a point off the top on 68 points, host Tottenham Hotspur.

Fifth-placed Everton are breathing down the necks of Arsenal, six points adrift of Wenger’s men but with a game in hand and a trip to bottom club Fulham on Sunday presents the chance to move a step closer to the top four.Agencies