Benteke lifts Liverpool
SUNDERLAND, England (AP):
Christian Benteke scored a winning goal for the second straight game as Liverpool beat Sunderland 1-0 in the English Premier League to stay in the hunt for Champions League qualification yesterday.
The striker pounced on a flicked pass from Adam Lallana to place a low finish into the bottom corner, just 22 seconds into the second half. Benteke earned Liverpool a 1-0 victory over Leicester on Saturday, too.
Liverpool climbed to seventh in the standings, tied for points (30) with Manchester United but behind their great rivals on goal difference, and five points off the top four with exactly half the season gone.
Sunderland stayed next to last with their fifth straight loss in December, and fell seven points from safety as recently hired manager Sam Allardyce struggles to turn around the fortunes of the perennial relegation contenders. Sunderland's home game against last-place Aston Villa on Saturday assumes even greater significance.
It was Benteke's sixth goal in seven career games against Sunderland - more than he has scored against any other club.
"I came to Liverpool to try to score a lot of goals; I'm in good shape," said Benteke, who has six league goals this season. "I hope I can keep it up."