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EPL: Ayoze Perez strike leaves Liverpool floundering

London: Liverpool slumped to their fourth defeat of the Premier League season on Saturday as Spanish substitute Ayoze Perez earned in-form Newcastle United a 1-0 victory at St James` Park.

Runners-up to Manchester City last season, Liverpool saw Philippe Coutinho test Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul with a second-half header, but Perez gave the hosts victory in the 73rd minute after a blunder by Alberto Moreno.

It was Newcastle`s fourth consecutive victory in all competitions, following their shock League Cup win over holders City in mid-week, and saw Alan Pardew`s side provisionally climb to ninth place in the table.

Liverpool, for whom striker Mario Balotelli endured another frustrating afternoon, are now nine points behind leaders Chelsea having played a game more.

Brendan Rodgers`s side now face a daunting trip to European champions Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, before hosting Chelsea in the league next weekend.

Newcastle lost Gabriel Obertan to a thigh injury in the 25th minute, but they went close to opening the scoring when Glen Johnson had to head a shot by Papiss Cisse off the Liverpool line.

Martin Skrtel headed wide for Liverpool shortly before half-time and Krul produced a sharp one-handed save to thwart Coutinho just before the hour, but it was Newcastle who broke the deadlock.

After an incursion down the Newcastle left led by Moussa Sissoko, the Frenchman`s pass into the box was intercepted by Moreno, but the Spaniard made the error of taking a second touch and Perez lashed home.

Newcastle substitute Remy Cabella saw an attempt to inflate the hosts` lead thwarted by Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet after a one-two with Perez, but Pardew`s men held out regardless.

Leaders Chelsea host Queens Park Rangers later on Saturday, when they will be seeking to preserve their four-point advantage over second-place Southampton, who visit Hull City.

Fourth-place West Ham United are away to Stoke City, while Arsenal, who began the weekend in fifth, host winless bottom club Burnley.

The weekend`s headline fixture arrives on Sunday, when champions Manchester City -- seeking a first win in four matches -- welcome derby rivals Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium. 

From Zee News

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