by Fitzgerald Cecilio
Steven Gerrard scored twice from the penalty spot as Liverpool kept its title bid on course with a 2-1 victory over West Ham United Sunday at Boleyn Ground.
With the win, Brendan Rodgers' side return to the top of the table, two points above Chelsea and four ahead of Manchester City.
Referee Anthony Taylor penalized James Tomkins for handball late in the first half, allowing Gerrard to notch his first goal two minutes before the break.
However, West Ham went in level through Guy Demel's first goal for the club, which came after Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had dropped a corner under pressure from Andy Carroll.
Liverpool won a second penalty as Adrian brought down rampaging full-back Jon Flanagan, who had been played in by Lucas, in the 71st minute. Gerrard made no mistake from the spot again as Liverpool closed out the crucial win.
"We thoroughly deserved the win and we showed great character today. It was a brilliant win for us and keeps our run going. We were clearly the better team. West Ham had one shot on target, which was the goal," Rogers said.
Meanwhile, first-half strikes from Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku, along with an own goal from Mikel Arteta, carried Everton to a 3-0 win over Arsenal at Goodison Park.
The win put Everton on course for a first UEFA Champions League appearance since 2005-06.
After winning six top-flight matches in a row, Everton is just a point behind fourth-placed Arsenal with a match in hand.
The loss was damaging for Arsene Wenger's men, who extended their winless run in the top flight to four matches, and face an uphill task to secure a 17th successive season in the UEFA Champions League.