Liverpool edges West Ham to retain top spot

London, England ( - Steven Gerrard netted a pair of penalties at Upton Park on Sunday to help Liverpool retain first place in the Premier League with a 2-1 defeat of West Ham United.

The Reds slipped from the summit following Chelsea's defeat of Stoke City on Saturday, but Sunday's win at West Ham sees Brendan Rodgers' side improve to 74 points to move two points clear of the Blues at the top.

Liverpool only managed to break the deadlock in the 43rd minute when James Tompkins handled the ball in the box, which allowed Gerrard to convert on the ensuing penalty attempt.

It looked as if the visitors would take the one-goal lead into the halftime interval, but West Ham leveled the score in the second minute of stoppage time. Simon Mignolet came to collect a corner kick and was on the receiving end of a forearm from Andy Carroll, but play was allowed to continue and Guy Demel tucked home a controversial equalizer.

The match remained level until the 71st minute when Adrian tripped up John Flanagan in the box to result in another Liverpool penalty. Gerrard converted once more and the Reds marched on to a momentous victory, their ninth straight in league play.

Everton 3, Arsenal 0

Liverpool, England - Arsenal's hopes of a top-four finish took a major hit on Sunday as it suffered a 3-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.

The Gunners were two goals behind by halftime as Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku scored in the 14th and 34th minutes, respectively, to give the hosts a comfortable lead.

The Toffees went three goals to the good to secure the victory at the hour mark when Mikel Arteta conceded an own goal against his former side.

Everton climbs to 63 points to move to within one point of fourth-place Arsenal, though the Toffees hold one game in hand.