Bramble strikes to frustrate Liverpool in English Premier League


London : Titus Bramble hit a late equaliser as Wigan Athletic held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Anfield in the English Premier League.

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With Manchester City winning at Newcastle United, the result Wednesday not only lifted Wigan out of the bottom three but saw Liverpool slip out of the top four of the Premier League.

Fernando Torres had put Liverpool ahead in the 49th minute. The Spain striker began the move and then finished it off, converting Steve Finnan’s cross after he had been set through by Steven Gerrard.

But Liverpool were out of sorts, and they conceded a 79th-minute equaliser to Bramble, who crashed in his second in successive games after Gerrard’s poor clearance.

Rafa Benitez’s side are now 12 points behind leaders Arsenal with just one game in hand.

City leapfrogged Liverpool as they increased the pressure on Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce Wednesday with a 2-0 victory at St James’ Park.

Brazilian midfielder Elanio gave them a first-half lead as Darius Vassell touched on Stephen Ireland’s pass, and substitute Gelson Fernandes sealed their second away win of the season with 14 minutes remaining.

Michael Owen came off the bench at halftime to make his first home appearance since the beginning of November and almost scored with his first touch, running onto Charles N’Zogbia’s pass only for Joe Hart to save with an outstretched leg.

Newcastle are without a win in four games, and the goodwill built up by the draw against Arsenal and subsequent last-gasp victories over Birmingham and Fulham has all but evaporated.

A defeat at Stoke City in the FA Cup Sunday could place Allardyce’s job in real jeopardy.

Sunderland slipped back into the relegation zone after losing a game of two penalties at Blackburn Rovers. With 51 minutes played, Christopher Samba fouled Daryl Murphy, but Dean Whitehead’s penalty was tame and saved easily by Brad Friedel.

Six minutes later, Samba’s volley struck Danny Higginbotham’s arm, and, once Sunderland’s protests had subsided, Benni McCarthy fired home the spot kick.

Sunderland midfielder Dwight Yorke was then sent off against his former club as he collected a second yellow card for a foul on David Dunn.

Bolton climbed to 14th as they grabbed a last-minute winner against Derby.

Michael Johnson hit the bar for Derby, and Kevin Nolan missed a sitter for the home side, but in the first minute of injury time, goalkeeper Lewis Price was hesitant in coming for a high ball, and Stelios Giannakopoulos ran on to score.

Players wore black bands, and all four games began with a minute’s applause as a mark of respect for Motherwell captain Phil O’Donnell, who died of heart failure on Boxing Day during his side’s 5-3 Scottish Premier League victory over Dundee United.