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Page last updated at 18:28 GMT, Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sunday football as it happened



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Jonathan Stevenson

1827: When one of your hands starts to twitch, it's time to wrap. Thanks for your company this weekend, it's been another fabulous festival of football in the world's most mental league. Match of the Day Two is on BBC Two and online at 2200 GMT, and join Cheesy on Tuesday for the Carling Cup. I bid you an emotional adieu.

From Ben, via text on 81111: "All in all, not a bad afternoon for us Reds considering our season was over this time yesterday..."

From rjginblueoz on 606: "Chelsea will be hard to catch now and Arsenal look to be the main threat. Man Utd have lost the plot, Man City are having a reality check, Liverpool have dropped too many points and Spurs year will be next year."

West Ham's Carlton Cole: "We worked hard for each other, we came out after half-time all guns blazing. I kept going, I've got a never-say-die attitude and the first goal gave us the confidence to go and get the second one."

1817: The draw moves Arsenal up to third, above north London rivals Tottenham on goal difference ahead of the two sides' meeting next Saturday. West Ham remain 19th.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Ray Parlour: "Great credit to West Ham, the substitutions they made changed the game in the end. I felt Arsenal had another gear or two, but the changes made all the difference. If they play like that last 20 minutes for the rest of the season, they'll be absolutely fine."

1812: Full-time West Ham 2-2 Arsenal

1810: Alessandro Diamanti crashes a wild left-footer miles over the Arsenal bar from 30 yards. Not long left now.

1808: Into four minutes of injury time now and Rob Green makes a brilliant late save to deny Robin van Persie after the Dutchman headed Bacary Sagna's cross goalwards from point-blank range. Top goalkeeping.

1808: Eduardo fastens on to a cracking pass from Andrey Arshavin but his cross is aimless - up the other end and Carlton Cole has no support as he chases a fabulous pass from Alessandro Diamanti and the chance goes begging.

1806: Two minutes of normal time left and Andrey Arshavin fires a few yards wide from 25 yards. Eduardo is sent on for Abou Diaby as Arsenal desperately try and win it late on.

1804: Macca Stat: "It's a bit like London buses for the Hammers. They wait two-and-a-half years for a goal against Arsenal and then two come along together. The last person to score for them against the Gunners? Bobby Zamora, with the winner at the Emirates in April 2007 - the first side to win at their shiny new stadium. Cole's goal ended a 479-minute barren spell."

From James, Sussex, via text on 81111: "See 1748: when he came, Zola said he was a mix of himself (Zola) and Di Canio. Bargain at £6m, eh?"

Red card
1802: SENDING OFF (Scott Parker, West Ham)
The Hammers midfielder is heartbroken to be dismissed after it looked like he won the ball cleanly from Cesc Fabregas. He fell over as he tackled Fabregas and may have handled while he was on the floor - that could have been the reason.

1800: Arsenal's collapse is not exactly the 60th birthday present Arsene Wenger was after. The Frenchman hauls off Emannuel Eboue and sends on Nicklas Bendtner.

West Ham goal: Football. Jeez. Moments after Arsenal survive a penalty shout Alex Song commits the cardinal sin of bundling over Carlton Cole inside the Arsenal area and that is definitely a penalty. Keeper Vito Mannone is booked for trying to put Alessandro Diamanti off, but the Italian keeps his cool and rolls the spot-kick past his fellow countryman. Ten minutes left, where's your money?

1757: GOAL West Ham 2-2 Arsenal


1754: Massive moment. Scott Parker surges brilliantly into the Arsenal box and goes down under a challenge from William Gallas. It's not conclusive, even on a replay, but at best it's a stupid tackle from the Frenchman and Parker cannot believe it.

West Ham goal: The Hammers get a free-kick 20 yards out and Alessandro Diamanti curls it goalwards, Vito Mannone getting his right hand to the ball but directing it into the path of Carlton Cole, who stoops and heads into the empty net.

1751: GOAL West Ham 1-2 Arsenal

1749: Good save from Rob Green there to deny Andrey Arshavin from 20 yards after sublime approach play from the wonderful Cesc Fabregas.

1748: Alessandro Diamanti scoops a lovely pass over the top of the Arsenal defence for Zavon Hines, but he is well shackled by Gael Clichy and his shot is blocked by the French left-back. I like the look of Diamanti - a poor man's Paolo di Canio?

From headbanger_x on 606: "I don't understand on what basis does Capello choose Heskey over Carlton Cole for England?"

1744: Zavon Hines chests a ball down in the Arsenal box and Carlton Cole turns well but just doesn't quite connect properly with his finish, slicing off target from 10 yards. He's played well today, Cole, with little support.

1742: Another change for West Ham as the ineffective Guillermo Franco is hauled off and young Zavon Hines thrust into the action.

1741: Reminder: Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United; Manchester City 2-2 Fulham; Bolton 3-2 Everton.

1740: What a hit that is. Cesc Fabregas takes a touch 30 yards out and rifles in a stunning right-foot shot that looks like it is heading for the top corner, flying about a foot past the post. Very little backlift - sign of a class player, that, like Andrea Pirlo's in midweek.

1737: Arsenal are starting to knock the ball around nicely at Upton Park, without creating anything. Alessandro Diamanti then tries a highly ambitious shot from 35 yards for the hosts, hitting it well but screwing it a couple of yards wide.

From Rory, London, via text on 81111: "Carlton Cole will be desperate to get on the plane to South Africa. Liverpool are in desperate need of a more proven second striker. January transfer window anyone??"

1733: Alessandro Diamanti, shorn of his golden locks, comes on for Mark Noble as Gianfranco Zola makes an early change.

1732: Andrey Arshavin produces a stunning burst of pace down the Arsenal left and fires over a dangerous cross that just evades his team-mates. West Ham are preparing a change.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Ray Parlour: "Arsenal aren't at their best at all this evening, it's just two mistakes from Rob Green that is the difference between the two teams. I'm sure Gianfranco Zola went in at half-time thinking they'd done better than the scoreline suggests."

1728: West Ham just look a team desperately short of confidence at the moment. There's no doubt they've got some very, very good players in the team but they need to catch a break. Could be a very long season otherwise.

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes: "We're disappointed because in that situation we should see the game out. We haven't done our jobs defensively, we knew the threat Dempsey posed at set pieces. Credit to Fulham, they are organised and made the game difficult for us."

From zohar_melamed on Twitter: "You will have noticed Arsenal's superior goal difference. Win the game in hand and we should go first."

1722: They are back under way at Upton Park, where it's West Ham 0-2 Arsenal. Apparently, tennis player Andy Murray is in the crowd, probably holding court somewhere.

From Rob, UK, via text on 81111: "You didn't cover the other 90% of Fergie's interview where he complained about all of the decisions going against United then?"
Haha. Full quotes piece from the managers on the website soon.

From Fergie's Last Thereom on 606: "When the dust settles, most of the United fans will realise the league is much more exciting where everyone's losing points. Happy Days."

1713: Don't forget, you can still get in touch with us via text on 81111, via Twitter and also on the 606 thread. It's never too late.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson: "We got ourselves back on track and got playing how we had for the 60 minutes before we conceded. We have players injured at the moment so it was a sterling effort for the players to earn a point. We battled hard against a good side, defended well throughout, and the character of the team is outstanding."

1707: Half-time West Ham 0-2 Arsenal

1705: Gael Clichy gets down the Arsenal left and cuts the ball back to Emmanuel Eboue, who fires in a low right-foot shot that Rob Green gets down to save at his near post.

1704: We'll have three minutes of first-half injury time at West Ham.

1703: Missed chance for Manchester City today, they could have gone fourth but blowing a 2-0 lead at home to Fulham means they will have to settle for sixth. Great point for the Cottagers, who move up to 13th.

1700: If any Arsenal fans have caught sight of the 'As it stands' Premier League table on the right-hand side of this page, they are probably quite excited right now. If it stays like this, the Gunners are third - a point behind Man United and three behind Chelsea, with a game in hand on both.

1658: Five minutes to go until half-time at West Ham and it's looking pretty comfortable for Arsenal at the moment.

1656: Full-time Manchester City 2-2 Fulham

Arsenal goal: if I said this one was all over, would you judge me? Robin van Persie delivers a vicious corner from the Arsenal right and William Gallas meets it three yards out, thumping a header in off Scott Parker on the line and into the net. Robert Green decided not to come that time, maybe he should have.

1655: GOAL West Ham 0-2 Arsenal

1651: Mark Noble's free-kick is headed away by Gael Clichy, but it falls for Jonathan Spector who whips in a brilliant cross from the right that Carlton Cole meets and heads just wide of the far post.

1650: There will be five minutes of added time at Manchester City.

1648: Sighter for Carlos Tevez at Eastlands, but the Argentine is quickly closed down and his right-foot shot inside the Fulham box is blocked. In the last minute of normal time, it's still Man City 2-2 Fulham.

1645: Robin van Persie glances a header wide from Andrey Arshavin's left-wing cross at West Ham as Arsenal try to double their lead.

1644: Trading chances at Eastlands, this time Clint Dempsey heading a Fulham corner over the bar. Not long left at Man City.

1643: Macca Stat: "Fulham are threatening to derail Man City's winning run at home. Mark Hughes's side have won their last eight since Fulham came to Eastlands and beat them 3-1 in a Sunday kick-off back in April. They scored all three goals in the second half that day..."

From Mac, London, via text on 81111: "You have made a massive typo at 1627 - Fergie making no excuses after defeat to Liverpool, surely that's not right."

1640: West Ham have recovered well from that early setback and a corner falls to Scott Parker outside the box, the Hammers midfielder seeing his half-volley deflected wide.

1638: So close again for Fulham as Shay Given has to be alert to push away Brede Hangeland's header from a left-wing corner.

1636: Lovely turn from Bobby Zamora, he does Joleon Lescott there and creates enough room to fire a left-foot shot a couple of yards wide from the edge of the box. It's almost like April 2008 all over again.

Arsenal goal: Not what the struggling hosts needed. Bacary Sagna fires over a teasing cross from the Gunners' right and Rob Green makes the wrong decision, deciding to come and deal with it but only getting fingertips on the ball and colliding with James Tomkins, leaving Robin van Persie to slot into an empty net.

1634: GOAL West Ham 0-1 Arsenal

1633: Vito Mannone saves well from Jack Collison at Upton Park, but it wouldn't have counted as Guillermo Franco was offside anyway.

From The Balloon d'or on 606: "Pleased with the reaction from Sir Alex, we deserved to lose and he got our tactics wrong, now we have to bounce back which I'm sure we will. Hopefully we'll get it right at OT v Liverpool later on this season, but it's the team who wins the trophies that matters."

Fulham goal: Man City undone by a set-piece and this one is up for grabs now. Fulham swing a free-kick from the left high into the City box and Clint Dempsey rises high to nod into the corner, past Shay Given's despairing dive. Cracking header. What an afternoon.

1628: GOAL Manchester City 2-2 Fulham

1627: Martin Petrov limps off at Eastlands, with Shaun Wright-Phillips coming on.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson: "All in all Liverpool were the better team, had the better chances and I've got no complaints."

1623: Both sides make a bright start at Upton Park. After missing a headed chance inside a minute, Robin van Persie sees a rasping angled drive tipped over the bar by Robert Green. At the other end, Carlton Cole wastes an opening but West Ham are pressing deep inside the Arsenal half.

Fulham goal: It's not over - don't worry, I'll reprimand myself for that, 2-0 is a very dangerous score. Stephen Kelly crosses from the Cottagers' left, Bobby Zamora chests it down and the in-form Damien Duff spanks a left-foot shot into the bottom corner past Shay Given.

1622: GOAL Manchester City 2-1 Fulham

City goal: Fabulous goal and that should be that at Eastlands now. Gareth Barry finds space down the right and he picks out Martin Petrov on the edge of the Fulham area, the supremely-talented Bulgarian dummying his way past one defender before slotting into the top corner from 16 yards.

1620: GOAL Manchester City 2-0 Fulham

1619: Early opening for Arsenal as Alex Song clips a ball in for Robin van Persie, but the Dutchman cannot get enough purchase on his header and the Hammers eventually clear their lines.

1618: We are under way in the final game of a hectic Sunday in the Premier League, with West Ham taking on Arsenal.

City goal: Costly miss, Bobby Z. Fulham fail to clear a Man City corner and it bounces inside the six-yard box, never a good sign for a defence. Emmanuel Adebayor prods it goalwards and Joleon Lescott applies the finishing touch from approximately two inches out.

1614: GOAL Manchester City 1-0 Fulham

1613: Wayne Bridge curls a 25-yarder goalwards at Eastlands but Mark Schwarzer makes a fine one-handed save.

From Anon, via text on 81111: "Congratulations to Rafa and his Reds. On a horrible run of form and without their talismanic captain but they showed great passion and were deservedly rewarded for it. Aided by a bit of good luck but it's about time they had some. Season back on track?"

Liverpool's Jamie Carragher, when asked whether he should have been sent off for a foul on Michael Owen: "No. Why? Do you?"

1607: If I told you there was an unbelievably miss from Bobby Zamora, would you believe me? Clint Dempsey forces a save from Shay Given and it rebounds to the striker six yards out on his favoured left foot - he cannot miss. He misses, blazing over. It's almost indescribably bad.

1607: They are under way again at Manchester City, they are drawing 0-0 with Fulham right now.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez: "We showed character and the way the fans got behind the players was like having a 12th man. Everyone worked together and we won. The players answered a lot of questions with that performance. We just take it one game at a time, we can't be too excited with today."

1604: In all the excitement at Anfield, I forgot to tell you West Ham v Arsenal doesn't kick-off until 1615 GMT. Will you ever forgive me?

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Anfield is awash with celebration and rightly so after a win that was fully deserved. Liverpool overpowered Manchester United today and Sir Alex Ferguson must be concerned by the lack of threat from his side until it was too late. Rafael Benitez has done it again - pulled out a win just when he needed it most."

1559: What an astonishing climax to the game that was - not sure the other 85 minutes really deserved it. But Liverpool most certainly deserve their three points - will that be the moment their season turns on, even without captain Steven Gerrard?

1557: Full-time Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United

Liverpool goal: I think it's probably all over now. United pile forward and Liverpool suddenly have three on one as Dirk Kuyt feeds Lucas and he sends David Ngog clean through, the Frenchman keeping his cool to slip it past Edwin van der Sar.

1555: GOAL Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United

1554: The Argentine cannot complain either, sliding into Edwin van der Sar and fouling the keeper, picking up a second yellow and being dismissed. There's no time left, surely...

Red card
1554: SENDING OFF (Javier Mascherano, Liverpool)

1554: We have one minute of stoppage time remaining at Anfield.

1551: Half-time Manchester City 0-0 Fulham

1551: Ryan Giggs' free-kick is too deep but Luis Valencia picks it up on the right and swings over a cross that Wayne Rooney heads over the bar. Liverpool's fans give Yossi Benayoun a standing ovation too as he is replaced by Martin Skrtel.

1549: The United defender can have few complaints after hauling down Dirk Kuyt on the halfway line - he picks up a second yellow card and gets an early bath. We're now into five minutes of added time.

Red card
1549: SENDING OFF (Nemanja Vidic, Man United)

1547: He's not the new Cristiano Ronaldo, official. Nani curls the free-kick into the arms of Pepe Reina from 22 yards, it's just a gimme from the Portuguese. Why didn't Wayne Rooney take it?

Yellow card
1546: Jamie Carragher is a very, very lucky to still be on the pitch there as he hauls down Michael Owen - he's the last man, it's more than a yellow card. Sir Alex Ferguson is absolutely apoplectic with rage on the touchline and you can see why.

1546: West Ham make three changes to the side beaten 2-1 at Stoke last time out as Jonathan Spector comes in for Julien Faubert, Scott Parker returns from suspension to replace Radoslav Kovac and Guillermo Franco takes the place of Alessandro Diamanti to make his debut. There are also three changes for Arsenal, who bring Bacary Sagna in for Theo Walcott, Gael Clichy for Kieran Gibbs and Andrey Arshavin for Tomas Rosicky.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1544: Luis Valencia goes perilously close to a leveller for United at Anfield, but his fierce shot from the right-hand side of the six-yard box flashes against the Reds crossbar.

1543: Micah Richards heads in a corner from the Man City left but for some reason it is ruled out by referee Kevin Friend. Could be for a Gareth Barry push, but seems soft.

From WiseMrBadger on 606: "To give Utd some credit, they do keep going until the very end. Great goal from Torres, I don't even think he looks fit either."

1540: Fernando Torres gets a deserved standing ovation - his goal was worth the admission money alone. He is replaced by David Ngog.

1539: Man City are still on top at Eastlands, but save for a Carlos Tevez over the crossbar they are not creating enough.

1537: Wayne Rooney pulls the trigger from 20 yards at Anfield but Jamie Carragher throws his whole body in the way and gets the block in.

1536: Chance for United at Anfield, but Nani curls harmlessly into the arms of Pepe Reina after Liverpool fail to clear a cross.

1536: West Ham v Arsenal line-ups:
West Ham:
Green, Spector, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble, Collison, Cole, Franco.
Subs: Kurucz, Kovac, Faubert, Da Costa, Diamanti, Hines, Stanislas.
Arsenal: Mannone, Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy, Eboue, Song Billong, Fabregas, Diaby, Arshavin, van Persie.
Subs: Almunia, Nasri, Eduardo, Ramsey, Silvestre, Gibbs, Bendtner.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1534: Michael Owen comes on for Manchester United to a crescendo of boos from the Liverpool faithful who so adored him. Can't help but think he will celebrate if he scores. Dimitar Berbatov is taken off and Nani also comes on for Paul Scholes.

From Andy, angry United fan via text on 81111: "This ref just isn't going to book a Liverpool player today. Evra was booked after two fouls. Lucas has committed seven and Mascherano four. Absolutely ridiculous."

1532: The game's opening up at Eastlands. Manchester City still look strongest but it is Fulham who almost open the scoring. Damien Duff's cross is laid off well by Diomansy Kamara at the back post for Jonathan Greening but his shot from inside the box flies past Shay Given's right-hand post.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Fernando Torres was too good for Rio Ferdinand there. Worrying for Sir Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello. It is a lead Liverpool fully deserve and the onus is now on Manchester United to produce much more in attack than they have so far. Michael Owen anyone?"

1530: Cracking chance for Lucas as United fail to clear a corner, but the midfielder lashes over left-footed from eight yards.

1529: Liverpool flood forward and Yossi Benayoun finds Lucas who then tees up Dirk Kuyt, but for the umpteenth time today the Dutchman picks the wrong option. Michael Owen gets jeered as he begins his warm-up.

1526: What have Manchester United got, with 25 minutes or so left? They've got Michael Owen on the bench, and a free-kick 25 yards out in a central position.

Liverpool goal: Magnificent. Liverpool finally cash in on their dominance as Yossi Benayoun slides a fine pass down the inside right channel for Fernando Torres - and from then on, it's about one of the world's great strikers. His first touch gives Rio Ferdinand a problem and his second, a searing drive into the roof of the net, forces Edwin van der Sar to pick the ball out of his net.

1524: GOAL Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United

1522: Full-time Bolton 3-2 Everton

From Murtini on 606: "I'm an Everton fan, but it's great to see Klasnic scoring, especially after his kidney problems in the past."

1520: Decent chance for Fulham, Bobby Zamora finding Diomansy Kamara and Shay Given racing from his line to thwart the striker.

1518: Man City are having all of the ball at Eastlands but they just cannot create anything - Fulham have 10 men behind the ball and are asking the hosts to try and break them down. Carlos Tevez scuffs a shot wide.

1516: Brilliant defending from Fernando Torres of all people, heading away from inside his own six-yard box after Dimitar Berbatov looked to have a free header from Ryan Giggs' free-kick. Flag went up anyway, but still worth a mention.

1515: Liverpool are right on top at Anfield but they just cannot turn their superiority into goals. Fernando Torres' cross from the right evades all his team-mates, while moments later Javier Mascherano's shot cannons off the head of Rio Ferdinand.

Bolton goal: Route one, and the hosts are back in front. Jussi Jaaskelainen's long punt forward is headed by Lucas Neill against Kevin Davies and it falls for that man Ivan Klasnic to drill a low left-foot shot past Tim Howard.

1513: GOAL Bolton 3-2 Everton

Big Andy in the away end, via text on 81111: "Never mind Anfield, it's this tie at the Reebok that should be grabbing the headlines. Amazing stuff from both sides."

1511: Nemanja Vidic fouls Fernando Torres at Anfield, while at the Reebok there is a nasty collision between Lucas Neill and Ivan Klasnic, the Croatian needing a little treatment.

1510: Liverpool have been wasteful again - and it's that man Dirk Kuyt at fault. Patrice Evra gifts them possession and Yossi Benayoun gives it to Kuyt, but his cross is too strong for Benayoun to control and the chance goes begging.

1507: Johnny Heitinga needs a bit of treatment for Everton - could do without yet another injury victim right now, David Moyes. He's taken off - though possibly just with cramp - and Seamus Coleman comes on.

1505: Back under way at Anfield, no half-time changes. 0-0.

1503: Everton's Dan Gosling fastens on to a ball in the Bolton half and is seems like he is through, but he just doesn't have the legs to get his shot in and Fabrice Muamba gets in a last-ditch challenge.

1502: They are under way at Eastlands. Just over 15 minutes left at the Reebok, it's Bolton 2-2 Everton.

1500: Macca Stat has the half-time chat: "What's gone wrong at Anfield? Liverpool - despite being a bit rubbish of late - have potted 15 goals in their last four league games at Anfield. Man Utd have 10 goals in their last three away games in the league. Surely that should spell goals, goals, goals. It just goes to show that the goalscoring formbook goes out of the window in these games."

1459: Not far off getting under way at Eastlands as Manchester City host Fulham. The Cottagers have a terrible away record in the Premier League, winning only eight in the past four seasons. But remarkably, three of those victories have come at the City of Manchester Stadium. They are unlikely to ever forget the quite incredible performance in April 2008 that helped them dramatically escape relegation.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Liverpool will be satisfied - Edwin van der Sar has been the far busier keeper - but Rafael Benitez will be concerned that all their good work has not brought the reward of a goal. Bit of argy-bargy when the half-time whistle went, with Manchester United players appearing to have a gripe with referee Andre Marriner. They clearly feel they are not getting the rub of the green with some borderline decisions. United's main threat has been winger Antonio Valencia and surely Sir Alex Ferguson will want him in the game even more after the break."

From StamfordBridgeStillStands on 606: "Referee hasn't been terrible. None of the peno shouts were certain and although he has got a couple of more minor decisions wrong he has let the game run relatively well."

1450: Before they walk off, the United players let referee Andre Marriner know their feelings - they do not think they are getting a fair share of the decisions. Sir Alex Ferguson says something to the fourth official on his way down the tunnel, too.

1448: Half-time Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United

1446: Lucas swings over a free-kick from deep into the United box and Dirk Kuyt goes down inside the area - he and Dimitar Berbatov appeared to be trying to swap shirts.

Everton goal: Another stunning goal for David Moyes' side - what a fightback from a depleted Everton this is. Lucas Neill gets the assist again for his ball forward for Marouane Fellaini but it's all about the huge-haired Belgian from then on as he shifts the ball into a yard of space against Gary Cahill and fairly thumps a stunning right-foot shot into the roof of Jussi Jaaskelainen's net from a slight angle on the right. Brilliant.

1444: GOAL Bolton 2-2 Everton

1442: Gary Neville runs towards The Kop as he goes through some warm-up exercises on the touchline and gets booed for his troubles. Michael Owen stays firmly on the visitors' bench.

1441: Everton have started the second half better at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton looking a little nervy as they defend their 2-1 lead.

1440: More good stuff from Liverpool, Fernando Torres so nearly playing the marauding Glen Johnson into space inside the United area. Six minutes left until half-time, 0-0.

1438: Yossi Benayoun chases a ball down the Liverpool right and waits for his team-mates to arrive, picking out Fabio Aurelio with a fine ball and the Brazilian's header is saved low down to his right by Edwin van der Sar. In the stands, Steven Gerrard puts his hands on his head.

1435: United break with the pace of Luis Valencia down the right and Michael Carrick eventually bursts into the Liverpool box, Jamie Carragher making a perfectly-timed tackle - if he'd got it wrong, it had to be a penalty.

1434: The game has lost its way a little bit at Anfield, which probably suits Man United as Liverpool were in the ascendancy. They are back under way at Bolton.

From Jim, Liverpool, via text on 81111: "Lucas is having one of his best games."

1429: Kolo Toure returns for Manchester City and replaces the suspended Pablo Zabaleta. Craig Bellamy also returns to the starting line-up with Shaun Wright-Phillips dropping to the bench to make way for the Welshman. Emmanuel Adebayor passed a late fitness test on an ankle knock and plays. Damien Duff and Clint Dempsey start for Fulham after both began the midweek Europa League match with Roma on the bench. They replace Bjorn Riise and Zoltan Gera, who are both amongst the substitutes. John Pantsil plays in place of the injured Paul Konchesky.

From Zell182 on 606: "We need to score soon or risk being hit badly on the counter by United."

1425: Nemanja Vidic bundles into the back of Fernando Torres and concedes a free-kick on the halfway line. Their tussle will be interesting this afternoon.

1423: Beautiful football from Manchester United, a flowing, one-touch move across the pitch and ending with Wayne Rooney's header from a Luis Valencia cross being saved by Pepe Reina. Gorgeous touches from Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov in that move.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is animated in his technical area. All tic-tac and verbal instructions for his players. No sign as yet of Sir Alex Ferguson, who remains seated as Manchester United are subjected to a predictable early surge of Liverpool adrenalin. One worrying sign for Liverpool was a burst of pace from Antonio Valencia that looked far more than Emiliano Insua could cope with. It still took that brilliant double save from Edwin van der Sar to deny first Fabio Aurelio and then Dirk Kuyt - great encouragement for (and from) The Kop.

1420: Fabulous chance for Liverpool and Dirk Kuyt blows it. Paul Scholes is dispossessed in midfield by Lucas and he waits until the perfect moment to slip in Kuyt, but the Dutchman's first touch is horrible and his toe-poked finish is wide of the far post. Liverpool on top.

1419: Manchester City v Fulham line-ups:
Man City: Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, De Jong, Barry, Petrov, Bellamy, Adebayor, Tevez.
Subs: Taylor, Johnson, Ireland, Wright-Phillips, Sylvinho, Kompany, Weiss.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Kelly, Duff, Greening, Baird, Dempsey, Kamara, Zamora.
Subs: Zuberbuhler, Seol, Nevland, Gera, Riise, Eddie Johnson, Smalling.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

1418: Half-time Bolton 2-1 Everton

1417: Mayhem from the free-kick as Edwin van der Sar saves well from Fabio Aurelio and then brilliantly from Dirk Kuyt's rebound effort, with Fernando Torres mis-hitting a third attempt.

Yellow card
1416: Patrice Evra definitely fouls Fernando Torres this time, bringing the striker down from behind and the French full-back is the first man into referee Andre Marriner's notebook.

1415: Great covering from Lucas to prevent Patrice Evra getting a cross in from the Manchester United left.

1413: Fernando Torres runs at Patrice Evra down the Liverpool right and goes down, winning a free-kick. On the replay, it seems like the Spaniard actually brought himself down. It comes to nothing.

BBC Radio 5 live
BBC Radio 5 live's Mark Lawrenson: "Manchester United look a little bit more comfortable on the ball than Liverpool at the moment, they are clearly the team with a little bit of confidence. But Yossi Benayoun could be Liverpool's key - he is capable of going past people."

From mitzy_boy on 606: "United have to keep an eye on Benayoun. He is capable of inflicting misery on United today."

1406: Nice little move from Liverpool there as Yossi Benayoun feeds Lucas into some space, the Brazilian's shot from 25 yards deflected behind for a corner. They still cannot keep all the balloons/beach balls off the pitch.

Everton goal: As predicted a few moments ago! Stunning riposte from the Toffees as they sweep from one end of the field to the other, Lucas Neill finding Louis Saha and the Frenchman moving forward and whacking a glorious 25-yarder into the top corner. You do not save those. Ever.

1402: GOAL Bolton 2-1 Everton

1401: There are still more beach balls - didn't do a very good job of confiscating them, did they? United get us under way at Anfield.

1400: It's Bolton 2-0 Everton, sorry about that.

Bolton goal: Poor defending from the visitors again and the Trotters double their lead as Matty Taylor swings over a free-kick and Gary Cahill heads home from eight yards. Uphill struggle for Everton now.

1357: GOAL Bolton 2-0 Everton

1357: Predictably as the teams come out of the famous Anfield tunnel, a gaggle of beach balls are lobbed on to the pitch. We are very, very close.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1356: Everton go close to an equaliser but it would have been extremely fortunate - Jo mis-hits a cross from the left and it clips the top of Jussi Jaaskelainen's crossbar.

1354: Bang out of form Liverpool must contend with a bang in form Manchester United side today. The visitors are on an 11-match unbeaten streak in all competitions and they have won 10 those. Easy to forget Fergie's teams don't usually hit their stride until Christmas time.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez: "I'm feeling like we need to win every game because we are Liverpool Football Club. We want to win every game and against United the rivalry is really, really big. We are better than people think. Clearly we have quality and are a good team and can beat anyone."

Sir Alex Ferguson: "There is always a great anticipation for this one, two great clubs with great history, and this one's no different. Experience is important in these games, but it's not just that - Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have got fantastic ability too. Michael Owen is a great substitute to have, I hope I don't need him today."

Bolton goal: First blood to the hosts, just as Everton had started to get into the game. Sam Ricketts forges down the right and his cross finds Chung-Yong Lee, who steers into the bottom corner with his left foot from 12 yards.

1347: GOAL Bolton 1-0 Everton

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "Eric Cantona masks, banners taunting about 18 titles, beach balls and large balloons thrown on by Manchester United fans already having to be cleared from the Anfield Road end by stewards. Lots of high spirits from United's supporters, but the rousing ovation that greeted Fernando Torres suggests Liverpool fans feel they can have the last laugh. Interesting to see how fit Torres is. Rafael Benitez may have had to gamble on the striker after Steven Gerrard's failure to recover from a groin injury. Torres will have happy memories of taking the formidable Nemanja Vidic to the cleaners when Liverpool won 4-1 at Old Trafford last season."

From Arron, via text on 81111: "Yet again the Liverpool bench is a shadow of the opposition's. It's simply not good enough over the course of the season."

1338: Everton get their first shot in, Jo doing well to fashion half a yard of space on the edge of the Bolton box and forcing Jussi Jaaskelainen to save low down to his left.

1336: Everton's defence is all at sea and Kevin Davies heads another very presentable chance wide for Bolton. Meanwhile at Anfield, stewards have to remove a couple of balloons that had been naughtily thrown on to the pitch.

1335: Decent start from Bolton at the Reebok. Injury-hit Everton will be hoping to get back on track after their mauling at Benfica on Thursday, while Bolton have improved after a wretched start to the season and were unlucky to leave Old Trafford pointless last weekend.

1333: Good early chance for the hosts at Bolton, Tamir Cohen heading a left-wing cross wide at the back post. It looks ludicrously windy in the north-west.

1331: Under way at Bolton.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Anfield: "As expected, Wayne Rooney is fit to take his place in Manchester United's team after a calf injury - and Sir Alex Ferguson has gone big on experience with both Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes starting. No Darren Fletcher though and that will be a blow to Ferguson because he counts on him in frenetic games such as this. Rafael Benitez goes into the game boosted by a succession of votes of confidence from all parts of the Anfield hierarchy - still does not alter the fact that he desperately needs to avoid another defeat today."

1329: The teams are out at the Reebok Stadium, with Bolton v Everton to kick-off the day's entertainment.

From grabbeh on Twitter: "I fancy embattled Everton to snatch a win today. We're under the cosh with injuries but Jo and especially Saha should do OK."

1324: "Au revoir Cantona and Man United... come back when you've won 18!" That was the banner message from Liverpool fans in 1994 - I wonder if King Eric will appear at Anfield today. As if it needs an extra ingredient.

From Rafael & Fabio on 606: "I've never, ever liked the combination of Scholes-Carrick - they rarely, if ever, play well together, especially in a 'big' game. I would have liked to see Anderson - he gives us more bite."

From Tom, Notts, via text on 81111: "Afternoon. Having a bit of trouble blowing my beach ball up with this Cantona mask on. Little help?"

1316: Liverpool v Manchester United line-ups:
Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Lucas, Mascherano, Benayoun, Kuyt, Aurelio, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Voronin, Babel, Ngog, Spearing, Degen, Skrtel.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney.
Subs: Foster, Neville, Owen, Anderson, Nani, Fabio Da Silva, Jonathan Evans.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

1314: But if Rafael Benitez has been feeling the strain, in the Anfield corridors of power they are doing their utmost to ease the pressure on the beleaguered Spaniard. First, co-owner George Gillett said Benitez was "as good as there is", and today, managing director Christian Purslow has given him long-term assurances about his job. Count them - not one, but two votes of confidence.

1311: Liverpool's problems are well-documented. Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at home to Lyon in the Champions League was a fourth successive defeat, their worst run since 1987. They haven't lost five in a row since 1953, when Bolton, Newcastle, Preston, Wolves and Spurs all accounted for them and the Reds went on to finish bottom of Division One.

1308: Gary Megson opts for the same line-up that narrowly failed to pick up a point at Old Trafford last weekend as Bolton look to continue their recent good form. There are no such luxuries for David Moyes, who makes three changes to the injury-depleted Everton side hammered 5-0 by Benfica on Thursday. Lucas Neill makes his first start for the club and will be joined in defence by John Heitinga, who was ineligible for the Lisbon rout. Louis Saha returns in attack, with Yakubu dropping to the bench.

1305: Hearing news that Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson start for Liverpool, but Steven Gerrard has not made it. Wayne Rooney returns for Manchester United and ex-Reds striker Michael Owen is on the bench.

From an apprehensive Liverpool supporter in Edinburgh, via text on 81111: "I've always been a steadfast supporter of Rafa but if we lose today then I believe our season is practically over already, which is just shocking. It could turn into our worst season for many a year and if that's the case I believe Rafa will lose the support of the fans."

1300: Stevo's Predos:
Bolton 2-1 Everton
Liverpool 2-2 Manchester United
Manchester City 2-1 Fulham
West Ham 0-3 Arsenal
Lawro's predictions

From philmcnulty on Twitter: "Just seen Steven Gerrard dressed very casually at Anfield. Did not look like a man who was ready for action this afternoon."

From adamgray50 on Twitter: "Great day of football to come, plus the draw for the first round of the FA Cup. It's the day the season really starts."

1251: Bolton v Everton line-ups:
Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Samuel, Muamba, Lee, Cohen, Gardner, Taylor, Kevin Davies.
Subs: Al Habsi, Steinsson, Klasnic, Mark Davies, Basham, Andrew O'Brien, Robinson.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Distin, Neill, Gosling, Rodwell, Cahill, Jo, Saha, Fellaini.
Subs: Nash, Coleman, Duffy, Agard, Baxter, Wallace, Akpan.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

From LarrySanders on 606: "I just love how they exaggerate everything. If Rafa wins, we're three points closer - anything else and our chances of the league title are slim. That's it, nothing more and nothing less."

1245: Safe to say we can expect an electric atmosphere at Anfield this afternoon and our chief football writer Phil McNulty will be in situ to keep us updated throughout. Manchester United can go top if they win, while three points would send Liverpool up to fifth.

1242: It'd be magical if you could get involved today. It's the sort of day Twitter was invented for, surely? So get tweeting, whether you're at Anfield, at home or in the pub. If you aren't all over Twitter, text your thoughts to 81111 or get in the 606 mixer. Like goals, they all count for one.

1237: Oh OK, suppose I should let you know what else is going on. At 1330 GMT (not BST) Bolton host Everton, at 1500 Manchester City entertain Fulham and then at 1600 West Ham and Arsenal meet. Meanwhile, events at Anfield kick-off at 1400. How can it not be a magnificent day of football?

1234: There might be three other top flight games today, but all eyes are on Anfield for the biggest game of the season so far as Liverpool take on Manchester United. It is English football's grandest contest, the standout derby in our domestic game - and this afternoon, there are plenty of added extras. Just ask Rafael Benitez.

1230: Don't tell me it's too early for one of the defining moments of the 2009/10 Premier League season. Question is: is Sunday 25 October THE defining moment of Rafael Benitez's Liverpool career?

Premier League results

25 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Bolton 3-2 Everton R
Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd R
Man City 2-2 Fulham R
West Ham 2-2 Arsenal R

Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 25 Oct 2009 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 10 16 24
2 Man Utd 10 10 22
3 Arsenal 9 16 19
4 Tottenham 10 7 19
5 Liverpool 10 11 18
6 Man City 9 7 18
7 Aston Villa 9 5 17
8 Sunderland 10 3 16
9 Stoke 10 -2 15
10 Wigan 10 -5 13
11 Burnley 10 -12 12
12 Bolton 9 -1 11
13 Fulham 9 -2 11
14 Everton 9 -3 11
15 Birmingham 10 -4 10
16 Blackburn 9 -11 10
17 Wolverhampton 10 -7 9
18 Hull 10 -14 8
19 West Ham 9 -4 6
20 Portsmouth 10 -10 4

see also
Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United
25 Oct 09 |  Premier League
West Ham 2-2 Arsenal
25 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Bolton 3-2 Everton
25 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Man City 2-2 Fulham
25 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
25 Oct 09 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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