Luis Suarez absolutely carrying Liverpool … and where have we seen this before?

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A team in first place in December must be taken seriously as a Premier League title threat – yes, even if it turns out to be a top-spot holder only for the 48 hours ahead of Sunday’s and Monday’s matches, as may be the case with Liverpool.

Never mind what men in high places may say about the current Anfield brigade being a year away and such. Tonight, Liverpool rules the table.

And what do so many Premier League champions have in common? Quite often, they have a striker who supplies the scoring year of a lifetime, the guy in such fabulous form that he seems to score a goal just by falling out of bed in the morning.

So many times do we see the Premier League winner driven to glory by an unstoppable goal-scoring force.

That guy this year looks a whole lot like Luis Suarez. The Liverpool striker just hit Nos. 18 and 19 this year. It would be a sensational total even if he hadn’t missed those first six games this year due to naughtiness.

It doesn’t always work out this way – but it has often enough for examination.

Everyone looked at Manchester United last year, squinted a bit and tried to determine where the secret sauce was? The talent seemed fine, but was it really the blue ribbon talent of a team sprinting away with the trophy? In a lot of ways, the difference seemed to be Robin van Persie, who was banging in the goals at an unstoppable clip as United built that lead.

Didn’t we all say something like, “Put Robin van Persie at (fill in the blank), and don’t they win the title?”

Chelsea tiptoed past Manchester United back in 2010; Didier Drogba was the league’s high-scorer that year, supplying a career-making 29 goals. The powerful Ivorian certainly carried the Blues over big stretches.

(MORE: Suarez hits twice to lead Liverpool past Cardiff City)

Remember Cristiano Ronaldo’s unbelievable season around Old Trafford a few years back, when he broke that 20-goal barrier for the first time – and then just kept right on going? By the end of the 2007-08 Premier League campaign, Ronaldo had a whopping 31 league goals. And we could make a case that his tallies were the difference as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men had just enough to eclipse a Chelsea club that started with Jose Mourinho in charge, but finished with Avram Grant – but one that was overly dependent on midfielder Frank Lampard to come up with so many of the big goals along the way.

Thierry Henry’s best year with the Gunners? Just have a look at The Invincibles of 2003-04. Yes, that team was blessed with Dennis Bergkamp’s fabulous playmaking, and with Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg at their winging best. But it was Henry’s 30 goals that put the cherry on the Invincible Sundae, as Arsenal left all pursuers behind.

With half a season still go and Suarez already on 19 goals, is there any doubt that only a big injury (or another crazy teething incident) could stop the man from reaching 30 at worst?

Balotelli, Nice may have spoiled PSG’s title chances

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Monaco took care of business at the top of Ligue 1 on Saturday and now the Champions League semifinalists could be closing in on France’s crown.

[ MORE: Spurs revel in ruling North London, but want more ]

Paris Saint-Germain slipped up on Sunday with a 3-1 loss against third-place Nice, and it could spell the end for the Parisians’ hopes of winning Ligue 1 in 2016/17.

Mario Balotelli sprung Nice in front after 26 minutes with a curling left-footed effort from outside the box, before Ricardo Pereira doubled the advantage for the hosts just three minutes into the second stanza with a lovely curler of his own.

PSG managed to pull a goal back in the 64th minute as Marquinhos gave the visitors a glimmer of hope to keep their title hopes alive.

However, the final minutes of the match took a drastic turn for the worse for PSG as Thiago Motta and Angel di Maria were both shown red cards for violent tackles on Nice players.

Nice also found a third finish after PSG was dwindled down to nine men when Anastasios Donis headed home a lofted cross from the left wing.

With three matches remaining for PSG, Unai Emery’s side sits three points behind league leaders Monaco, who also have a match in hand. PSG finishes up their Ligue 1 account with matches against Bastia, St Etienne and Caen.

Video: Camilo Sanvezzo scores wonder goal for Queretaro

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Camilo Sanvezzo scored two goals on Sunday for Queretaro but many won’t even remember the score of the game after his brilliant first effort.

The Queretaro forward scored the first of two finishes in the 66th minute after winning the ball in his own half, carrying it into the Toluca end and unleashing a deadly shot from just inside midfield.

Sanvezzo eventually scored his side’s second goal in the dying minutes of the match, and his 88th minute finish proved to be the winner for Queretaro, who currently sit 13th in Liga MX.

The 28-year-old should be familiar to MLS fans after Sanvezzo’s time with the Vancouver Whitecaps from 2011 to 2013. The veteran scored 39 goals in 92 matches with the Canadian side.

MLS Snapshot: Atlanta United 1-3 D.C. United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Atlanta has been one of the most exciting teams in MLS over the opening two months of the season, but with a bit of luck and grit D.C. United spoiled the newcomers’ fun on Sunday afternoon. It was all the home side early on in the match, which was spearheaded by Kenwyne Jones‘ emphatic header, but D.C. responded well with some good pressure of their own. The win for D.C. moves Ben Olsen’s club into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Atlanta still holds the sixth and final playoff position through eight matches as Gerardo Martino’s side sits on 11 points.

[ MORE: MLS roundup from Saturday’s action ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Hosts apply pressure and hit D.C. where it hurts — This is exactly why Atlanta brought in Kenwyne Jones. Big body and deadly heading ability. Can’t stop that.

25′ — D.C. unexpectedly pulls level — It certainly wasn’t how Lamar Neagle drew it up but he and D.C. somehow equalized before the half hour mark after some sloppy Atlanta defending.

36′ — Acosta runs wild — Atlanta will probably want to look back on this moment and make sure they do a better job covering the diminutive attacker next time.

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Men of the match: Luciano Acosta

Goalscorers: Kenwyne Jones (9′), Michael Parkhurst — OG (25′), Luciano Acosta (36′), Sebastian Le Toux (55′)

La Liga & Serie A: Napoli gains ground on Roma and more

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Celta Vigo 0-3 Athletic Bilbao

Bilbao is up to sixth place following Sunday’s win over Celta, and it was quite the dominant performance from the road side. Celta managed zero shots on target throughout the match in comparison to Bilbao’s 12, while Raul Garcia’s brace helped pace his side to victory with goals on each side of halftime. Mikel Rico added a third in the 83rd minute for good measure but there was never much doubt on the day as to which side was coming away with the points.

Real Betis 1-4 Alaves

Despite going down inside the opening quarter hour, Alaves put out a superb showing after halftime to solidify its place in the top 10 in Spain. Nenad Krsticic, Rubén Sobrino and Christian Santos scored in a 10-minute span early in the second half to give the visitors a commanding lead before Aleksandar Katai added his side’s fourth of the day late in stoppage time.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Osasuna 2-2 Deportivo La Coruna
Eibar 2-0 Leganes


Roma 1-3 Lazio

It’s always a fun one when these two sides get together in the Derby della Capitale but Lazio’s victory could prove quite costly for their rivals from Rome. Keita Balde Diao continues his fantastic scoring run for Lazio as the 22-year-old is up to 13 Serie A goals on the season after Sunday’s brace. The Senegalese striker scored after 12 minutes before providing the final touch on the match for the visiting side. Daniele de Rossi converted from the penalty spot to pull Roma even on the stroke of halftime, but Dusan Basta restored the lead for Lazio five minutes into after the break.

Napoli 1-0 Inter Milan

Jose Callejon made things a lot more interesting in the race for the UEFA Champions League. Following Roma’s defeat, a victory for Napoli ensured that the side would move to within a point of the Giallorossi in Serie A. And that’s exactly what Napoli did. Callejon’s first-half finish gave Napoli the cushion it needed on the day, and now sets up an intriguing race for automatic qualification into next season’s UCL.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Bologna 4-0 Udinese
Cagliari 1-0 Pescara
Crotone 1-1 AC Milan
Empoli 1-3 Sassuolo
Genoa 1-2 Chievo
Palermo 2-0 Fiorentina