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Slumping Liverpool faces critical test
by Paul Kennedy, January 29th, 2009 7AM



[ENGLAND] Liverpool's hopes of its first Premier League title look dimmer after its 1-1 tie at Wigan on Wednesday left it two points behind defending champion Manchester United, which has a game in hand. The result left the Reds needing a victory when they host Chelsea on Sunday. Also on Wednesday, U.S. keeper Tim Howard helped Everton tie Arsenal.

Playing in his first game on loan from Middlesbrough, Egyptian striker Mido scored on a penalty kick in the 83rd minute to give Wigan a tie at the JJB Stadium.

The outcome left Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez fuming.

"In the second half," he said, "I was not happy with a lot of things."

Chelsea is tied with Liverpool after its 2-0 win over Middlesbrough on a pair of goals by Salomon Kalou.

Aston Villa, a 1-0 winner over Portsmouth on Tuesday, is fourth, a point behind Liverpool and Chelsea.

A last-gasp equalizer from Robin van Persie gave Arsenal a 1-1 tie at Everton that left the Gunners in fifth place, eight points behind Manchester United. Everton would have leapfrogged Arsenal with a win. Howard had saved a strong header from van Persie earlier in the second half.


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