Advantage Liverpool, Atlético in title quests

Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid both took potentially large strides towards glory on a weekend when AS Roma kept up the pressure in Italy and Paris Saint-Germain lost.

Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid both took potentially significant strides towards glory this weekend after another dose of drama in the Premier League and Liga title races. The Anfield outfit beat rivals Manchester City FC and Atlético pounced on a loss for FC Barcelona, while AS Roma kept up pressure on Juventus in Italy and Paris Saint-Germain lost in France. recaps the action. 

Liverpool's dream of ending their 24-year title wait moved closer to reality on Sunday as Brendan Rodgers' side downed third-placed Manchester City 3-2. "That's the longest 90 minutes I've probably ever played in," said Reds captain Steven Gerrard. "Nothing's won yet, but that was probably the biggest statement we've made so far." The Anfield outfit lie two points clear of Chelsea FC, who overcame Swansea City AFC 1-0. Elsewhere, Everton FC won 1-0 at Sunderland AFC to climb into the top four ahead of Arsenal FC, who beat Wigan Athletic FC on penalties to set up an FA Cup final meeting with Hull City AFC, 5-3 victors against Sheffield United FC.

Atlético ended a superb week on a high by posting a 2-0 success at Getafe CF to surge three points clear at the top of the Liga standings. "We now have five finals and we must approach them as such," said victorious coach Diego Simeone. "We have to focus on Elche, as that's the first of them. After going from game to game, we now go from final to final." As for Real Madrid CF, they climbed into second spot 24 hours earlier with a 4-0 triumph over UD Almería, the win lifting them a point above Barcelona, who slumped to a 1-0 loss at Granada CF.

Roma moved within five points of Serie A leaders Juventus, who play on Monday, thanks to a 3-1 victory against Atalanta BC. "Roma played magnificently as a team tonight, creating chances and scoring some fantastic goals," enthused Rudi Garcia. "As a coach, that's exactly what you want to see." SSC Napoli remain on course to finish third, meanwhile, Gonzalo Higuaín hitting a hat-trick in their 4-2 defeat of SS Lazio on Sunday, while fourth-placed ACF Fiorentina overwhelmed Hellas Verona FC 5-3 and FC Internazionale Milano cruised to a 4-0 success at UC Sampdoria.

Knocked out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, Paris experienced further disappointment when they lost 1-0 at Olympique Lyonnais, only their second defeat in Ligue 1 this term. Laurent Blanc's men nonetheless remain ten points clear of AS Monaco FC, who recorded a slender 1-0 win at Stade Rennais FC. That victory kept the principality outfit six points ahead of LOSC Lille in France's last automatic UEFA Champions League berth, with LOSC toppling Valenciennes FC 1-0. "We knew the Lille result before our game, so we had to win to keep this cushion we've had for a while," commented Monaco midfielder Jérémy Toulalan. "It's going to be tough right up to the end."

Borussia Dortmund showed their class by slotting three unanswered goals past stuttering Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München. "As points against Bayern are like bonus points for any team, I'm very happy that we were able to snatch three of them," said BVB coach Jürgen Klopp. FC Schalke 04 are three points adrift in third after beating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0, and seven above Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who prevailed 2-1 against Hertha BSC Berlin in Sascha Lewandowski's first game in charge. On Saturday, VfL Wolfsburg temporarily moved fourth by sweeping aside struggling 1. FC Nürnberg 4-1.

AFC Ajax need just a point to wrap up their fourth consecutive Eredivisie title after edging ADO Den Haag 3-2. That would have been enough for Frank de Boer's men had Feyenoord failed to take maximum points at PSV Eindhoven, but the Rotterdam outfit prevailed 2-0 to delay Ajax's celebrations. Also close to title honours are SL Benfica, who won 2-0 at FC Arouca to remain seven points clear of Sporting Clube de Portugal with three games to go. In Russia, FC Zenit moved top by beating FC Krasnodar 4-1, with previous leaders FC Lokomotiv Moskva held 0-0 by FC Anji Makhachkala. Lastly, Czech leaders AC Sparta Praha downed derby rivals SK Slavia Praha 3-0.