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Liverpool close on elusive English title with Anfield win over Man City

April 13, 2014 -- Updated 2343 GMT (0743 HKT)
Philippe Coutinho celebrates his winning goal at Anfield with skipper Steven Gerrard.
Philippe Coutinho celebrates his winning goal at Anfield with skipper Steven Gerrard.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Liverpool beat Manchester City in crucial match at top of EPL
  • Philippe Coutinho goal seals 3-2 victory at Anfield
  • Fans mark 25th anniversary of Hillsborough disaster
  • Chelsea beat Swansea 1-0 in late kick off to keep pace

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(CNN) -- Liverpool closed on a first English title since 1990 with a thrilling 3-2 win over Manchester City in an emotion charged atmosphere at Anfield Sunday as the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster was marked before kick off.

The vital victory left Liverpool two points clear of Chelsea, who beat Swansea 1-0 later Sunday and seven in front of third-placed City, who have two games in hand.

Philippe Coutinho scored the winner with a 78th-minute snap shot after the visitors had come back from two goals down and threatened to grab the three points.

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His goal came after a mistake by Belgian international Vincent Kompany, whose sliced clearance fell straight to the midfielder.

Read: Controversy as Liverpool go back on top

Liverpool held on to the lead despite having Jordan Henderson sent off in injury time for a rash challenge on Samir Nasri

Their captain Steven Gerrard had tears in his eyes as he gathered his team in a huddle at the final whistle and admitted that City had proved a formidable hurdle in the title run-in.

"That's the longest 90 minutes I've probably ever played in. I felt like the clock was going backwards in some points of the game," he told Sky Sports.

"But this is a big result for us. We have four cup finals left," he added.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini rued their missed opportunities after such a strong comeback.

"We had clear chances to score in the last 15 minutes but we made a mistake and they won the game.

"They started very well and scored two goals. It's easier when you are playing at home and go two goals in front -- it's more easy to play with calm," he added.

Read: Can Liverpool end two decades of hurt?

Liverpool, who were claiming a 10th straight EPL win, started with confidence and in free-scoring mood, with youngster Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel grabbing first half goals.

City came back into it after the break with David Silva and a Glen Johnson own goal leaving the home fans fearing the worse until Coutinho's late intervention.

The match started seven minutes late in honor of the 96 Liverpool fans who died before an FA Cup semifinal match against Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in 1989.

All matches in the English football program this weekend had similar tributes and a memorial service will be held at Anfield Tuesday, exactly 25 years since the tragedy.

Earlier this month a new inquest into the deaths started after the original verdicts delivered by a coroner were quashed by the High Court in December 2012 amid claims of malpractice by police on duty that day.

Chelsea, who visit Anfield in a fortnight, scrambled to a 1-0 win at the Liberty Stadium against a team reduced to 10-men after the early dismissal of Chico Flores.

A Demba Ba goal in the 68th minute, his second crucial strike in a week, gave Chelsea the three points.

While key matches were taken place in the title race, fellow EPL side Hull City reached the FA Cup final for the first time with a 5-3 win over third-flight Sheffield United at Wembley.

Hull will play Arsenal, who saw off Wigan on penalties in the first semifinal Saturday, next month but were given an almighty scare by the underdogs.

United led through Jose Baxter and Stefan Scougall either side of a Yannick Sagbo goal at halftime.

Hull substitute Matty Fryatt drew them level just after the break before Tom Huddlestone and Stephen Quinn put Hull them two clear.

Jamie Murphy gave Sheffield United late hope then David Meyler added a fifth for the top flight side in injury time.

In the Spanish title race, Atletico Madrid stretched their lead to three points with a 2-0 win at Getafe as Diego Godin and star striker Diego Costa scored in each half.

Costa, who has just returned after injury, collided with a goalpost in scoring the clinching second, but he should be fit to play in their next match against Elche Friday.

Atletico are heading city rivals Real with champions Barcelona, who lost to Granada Saturday, a further point behind, with five games to go in La Liga.

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