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Suarez scores twice as Liverpool takes 1st place

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December 21, 2013 07:31 PM EST | AP

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LONDON (AP) — With 10 goals in December alone, Luis Suarez has propelled Liverpool up the English Premier League and enhanced the team's title credentials with each game.

The Uruguayan striker had two goals Saturday in a 3-1 victory over Cardiff, and also set up Raheem Sterling's goal.

Liverpool moved top of the standings, for now, having finished seventh last season.

Manchester City was a point behind after winning 4-2 at Fulham, with substitutes Jesus Navas and James Milner scoring key goals after their team threw away a two-goal lead in heavy wind and rain at Craven Cottage.

Liverpool and City could be overtaken by Arsenal if the London club wins the derby against fourth-place Chelsea on Monday.

Manchester United remains outside of the top four in seventh place despite the champions beating West Ham 3-1. Goals from Danny Welbeck, Adnan Januzaj and Ashley Young ensured United made it two wins out of two after losing the previous two league games.

Newcastle remains two points ahead of United after winning 3-0 at Crystal Palace. In the day's other games, Stoke rose to 10th by beating Aston Villa 2-1, bottom-placed Sunderland drew 0-0 with Norwich, and managerless West Bromwich Albion was held to 1-1 by Hull.


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Diego Costa scored twice to help Atletico Madrid come back to beat feisty Levante 3-2 on Saturday and provisionally move to the top of the table.

Atletico leads Barcelona by three points before its game at Getafe on Sunday, when the defending champion will be without the injured Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Victor Valdes and suspended striker Neymar.

Diego Costa moved two goals ahead of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo to a league-leading 19.


FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund both lost in the Bundesliga on Saturday, leaving Bayern Munich the biggest beneficiary even though the defending champion wasn't even in the country.

With Bayern in Morocco winning the Club World Cup, Leverkusen and Dortmund could have gained some ground on the undefeated leader.

But Leverkusen went down 1-0 at Werder Bremen and Dortmund lost 2-1 at home to Hertha Berlin, leaving Bayern seven points ahead of Leverkusen and 12 ahead of Dortmund, with one match in hand. Leverkusen lost its second straight and Dortmund its third consecutive at home as the two Champions League last-16 teams continued a slump.

Dortmund, which has won only one of its last six matches and lost four of them, could drop from third place if Borussia Moenchengladbach beats Wolfsburg on Sunday.


MILAN (AP) — Napoli missed a chance to move provisionally level with second-placed Roma as it was held to 1-1 at Cagliari in Serie A on Saturday.

Udinese picked up a valuable 2-1 win at fellow struggler Livorno in the final round of Italian league fixtures before the winter break.


PARIS (AP) — Saint-Etienne overcame a poor pitch to make up ground in the race for a European spot by defeating Nantes 2-0 in the French league on Saturday.

Saint-Etienne provisionally climbed to fourth place with a game in hand while Nantes slipped to sixth.

Reims thrashed Ajaccio 4-1 to go level on points with Nantes, Sochaux edged Rennes 2-1 to leave the last spot to Ajaccio, and Nice rallied past Evian 3-1 for a third straight win in all competitions. Montpellier extended its winless streak to 11 games in all competitions by drawing 0-0 with Bastia while Toulouse also split the points with Guingamp, in a goalless draw.


ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Javier Saviola scored twice in the second half to lead defending champion Olympiakos to an easy 5-0 win at Apollon in the Greek league on Saturday.

At the halfway point of the season, Olympiakos has 16 wins and just one draw, a record for the league. It is also the first team to be undefeated away at this point.

Second-place PAOK, 13 points behind, hosts Levadiakos Sunday.

Third-place Atromitos, 17 points adrift of Olympiakos, beat Panthrakikos 3-1 Saturday.


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Celtic stretched its unbeaten run in the Scottish Premiership to 16 games after the defending champion beat Hearts 2-0 thanks to goals from Kris Commons and James Forrest on Saturday.

Celtic has a 10-point lead over Dundee United, which beat Ross County 1-0, and Inverness, which lost 4-2 to Aberdeen.