ROUNDUP: Liverpool move to top as Chelsea ruin Shearer's debut
London - Israeli substitute Yossi Benayoun scored a dramatic injury time winner for Liverpool that lifted his side to the top of the Premier League on Saturday with a 1-0 victory at Fulham.
Benayoun's strike from close range took Liverpool to 67 points - two more than Manchester United, who have two games in hand though and could move back to the top on Sunday with a victory against Aston Villa.
Liverpool completely dominated the first half and could have gone ahead in the 10th minute when Andrea Dossena ducked beneath a shot from Lucas, only to see his deflected header crash against the crossbar.
Midway through the first half Fulham's goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer denied the visitors the opening goal as he saved from Spanish international striker Fernando Torres.
The Australian international did well in the 33rd minute when he managed to dive to his right to save another Torres shot. A minute later the upright came to Schwarzer's rescue as Torres' strike bounced against the upright and back into play.
Shortly afterwards it was Dossena whose diving header beat Schwarzer but also crashed against the woodwork.
Liverpool failed to produce the same standard in the second half, as Fulham also created some chances, but poor finishing let them down.
Instead, it was Benyaoun's strike two minutes into injury time that gave Liverpool a deserved victory that had looked unlikely.
Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez said that he thought his side's victory would put some pressure on Manchester United.
"They have the quality and the experience, but our result will put them under a bit of pressure.
"It was an exciting game with a lot of chances, but in the end I think we deserved to win and we are really pleased.
"We were playing well, but the pitch was terrible but we were creating chances. I was disappointed that we were not scoring, but I was not worried because I knew we were doing the right thing.
"We had the belief in ourselves and we have shown that we can score at the end. We are playing with confidence. This result is very good in terms of confidence," he said.
Earlier, Chelsea ruined Alan Shearer's debut as Newcastle United manager with a 2-0 win at St James's Park to keep their league title hopes alive.
Goals from Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda moved Chelsea to within a point of Manchester United.
Newcastle remain in deep trouble, third from bottom and three points from safety, while bottom side West Bromwich Albion look doomed after they were beaten 2-0 at home by fellow strugglers Stoke City.
Shearer, who this week was installed as Newcastle's manager until the end of the season, received a hero's welcome from the home fans, but his day was eventually ruined by a professional display from Chelsea.
The two sides went into half-time goalless, but Lampard headed into an empty net on 56 minutes after Nicolas Anelka's shot was deflected onto the woodwork and Malouda secured the points with the second nine minutes later.
Shearer said that he was disappointed with the result. "We worked very hard to contain them in the first half without being a threat ourselves. We were punished for a mistake in the second half and then of course you are chasing the game.
"The players gave me fantastic effort as I knew they would. We are going to need every ounce of effort from now until the end of the season.
"We are going to have to step up our quality, but then we are also not playing Chelsea every week. That is the plus side."
Arsenal cemented fourth place as two Emmanuel Adebayor goals gave them a 2-0 win over Manchester City.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he was delighted with his side's performance. "We came back well from the international break," he said. "We go from strength to strength and from game to game."
The Frenchman said he did not want to single out Adebayor's performance. "It was a very good team performance, it was great."
Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie scored to give Stoke City three vital points and lift them away from trouble, at the same time, leaving West Brom eight points away from safety with time running out.
Middlesbrough remain only three points better off after they were hammered 4-1 at Bolton Wanderers.
Blackburn Rovers also improved their chances of avoiding the drop as they came from behind to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1.
Goals from Benni McCarthy and Andre Ooijer gave Blackburn a precious three points that had looked unlikely when Robbie Keane put Spurs ahead from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark.
The match turned when Wilson Palacios was sent off 12 minutes from time for a second yellow card, and after McCarthy equalised (82), Ooijer took advantage of a Spurs defence all at sea to score a crucial winner in the 89th minute.
The win moved Blackburn up to 14th place, five points above the relegation zone.
West Ham United beat Sunderland 2-0, while Portsmouth survived the second-half sending-off of Glen Johnson to draw 0-0 at Hull City. (dpa)