English soccer roundup

BY JOHN HUGHES LONDON - Peter Crouch, the 6ft 7in England striker, ended his goal drought by scoring for the first time since May as rapidly-improving Liverpool won 3-0 at home to Wigan. "It's been a difficult time," admits Crouch whose team now lie third in the Premiership. "I am a happy perso

n normally, but this has been getting me down.”

Chelsea’s 1-0 home win over Middlesbrough, settled by defender John Terry’s 62nd-minute header, keeps them 12 points clear at the top. But Chelsea were in luck when Dutchman Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, their former striker, hit a post with the match goalless.

Manchester United are second after seeing off Portsmouth 3-0 at Old Trafford, while Tottenham are fourth, midfielder Michael Carrick stylishly clinching a 3-2 home win over bottom club Sunderland. But Arsenal faltered with a 2-0 defeat at Bolton.

Graeme Souness, the under-fire Newcastle manager, was grateful to grab a 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa. Gareth Barry missed a penalty for Villa just before the end.

Meanwhile, in an amazing turnabout manager Harry Redknapp walked out on Championship club Southampton saying he “had no future there” just over a year after quitting Portsmouth, their deadly rivals on the South Coast. Redknapp’s dramatic decision followed Portsmouth’s bid to approach him and it left Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe searching for a ninth manager in his nine-year tenure.

In Scotland, the pressure on Rangers manager Alex McLeish mounted after the stumbling Premier champions were held 2-2 at home by lowly Falkirk to make it nine matches without a win. With 20 minutes left Rangers had led 2-0 through an own goal and a penalty. Celtic remain top after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Aberdeen–all four goals came in an 11-minute spell soon after half-time–and Hearts are a point behind following top-scorer Rudi Skacel’s double in a 2-1 win over visitors Livingston.

* Manchester United, the world’s richest club, will visit non-League opposition, Burton or Burscough, in round 3 of the 125th FA Cup on the weekend of January 7-8. A similar situation sees another Premiership outfit, Middlesbrough, away to Nuneaton or Histon.

UK soccer roundup
Farewell to Best

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