Liverpool lose fourth spot to Manchester City

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London, Jan 3: Liverpool's Premier League title aspirations all but vanished on Wednesday with a 1-1 home draw against relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic which left them languishing 12 points behind leaders Arsenal.

Rafael Benitez's side were booed off the field at Anfield after Wigan defender Titus Bramble fired a late equaliser to cancel out a classy opener from Fernando Torres. Liverpool have now dropped out of the Premier League's top four, Sven-Goran Eriksson's Manchester City rising above them after a 2-0 victory at troubled Newcastle United. Brazilian Elano opened the scoring for City shortly before the interval and not even the second-half introduction of Michael Owen could inspire the Magpies as City doubled their lead through Fernandes Gelson.

City are fourth with 39 points, one more than Liverpool who have played a game fewer. Arsenal, who beat West Ham United 2-0 on Tuesday, are top with 50 points, two ahead of champions Manchester United.

Wigan's surprise draw lifts them out of the bottom three where they are replaced by Sunderland who were beaten 1-0 at Blackburn Rovers. Dwight Yorke was sent off for Sunderland.

Bolton Wanderers boosted their survival chances after a last-minute 1-0 defeat of bottom club Derby County who are 10 points adrift of safety.

Liverpool's draw will turn the spotlight back on coach Benitez as the Anfield club appear no closer to ending their long wait for a league title stretching back to 1990.

With Torres playing as a lone striker Liverpool huffed and puffed until the Spaniard started and finished a sweet move involving Steven Gerrard after 49 minutes for his 16th goal of the season.

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