Liverpool held by Arsenal, Marseille top in France
22 December 2014, 10:07
London - Liverpool is starting to produce the kind of fluent attacking displays that led the team to a second-place finish in the English Premier League last season.
Now, the Reds just need a striker to finish off the chances.
Liverpool outplayed Arsenal at Anfield on Sunday, yet needed a goal deep into stoppage time to salvage a 2-2 draw. While Arsenal is four points off the Champions League places, Liverpool is nine points from the top four with almost half the season gone.
The rest of Europe's leagues are closing for the winter break, with Marseille leading in France after winning Sunday.
Here is a look at best of the action in Europe:
Wearing a bandage to cover up a nasty head wound, Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel leapt high at a corner to score a powerful header in the seventh minute of stoppage time and rescue a point against Arsenal.
Liverpool dominated the game, creating a slew of chances like in the 3-0 loss to Manchester United last weekend, but again lacked a cutting edge in the continued absence of injured striker Daniel Sturridge.
Philippe Coutinho's 45th-minute opener was the only reward for its consistent build-up play until Skrtel's late intervention, with Arsenal scoring in between against the run of play through France internationals Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud.
The visitors couldn't hang on despite Liverpool substitute Fabio Borini being sent off at the start of second-half stoppage time for two quick bookings.
A late goal was decisive in Sunday's other game, with Adam Johnson volleying home a 90th-minute winner for Sunderland in a 1-0 victory at northeast rival Newcastle. It sealed an unprecedented fourth straight derby win for Sunderland.
Marseille beat Lille 2-1 Sunday to ensure it ended the year top of Ligue 1, while Lyon thrashed 10-man Bordeaux 5-0 to leapfrog Paris Saint-Germain into second spot.
An own goal from Lille forward Nolan Roux and Michy Batshuayi's strike — shortly after Idrissa Gueye's equalizer — saw Marseille head into the winter break three points clear of Paris Saint-Germain, which drew 0-0 against Montpellier on Saturday.
In Bordeaux, goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso either side of the break had given Lyon a comfortable lead before Nicolas Pallois was sent off in the 16th minute for a dangerous tackle on Clinton N'Jie.
Nabil Fekir, Jordan Ferri and Lacazette all scored in the final nine minutes for Lyon.
France forward Antoine Griezmann scored a second-half hat trick to help Atletico Madrid come back for a 4-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday to pull within four points of the lead in the Spanish league.
Bilbao dominated the first half and took the lead when Mikel Rico headed in a free kick in the 17th minute. But Griezmann headed in the equalizer just seconds after the halftime break, and Raul Garcia made it 2-1 in the 53rd from the penalty spot. Griezmann then finished off the game with breakaway goals in the 73rd and 81st.
Villarreal and Malaga also won to finish the year on winning streaks.
Villarreal striker Luciano Vietto scored two goals to secure a comfortable 3-0 win over visiting Deportivo La Coruna, while Malaga had to fight back 2-1 at Elche.
Elsewhere, Getafe scored late to salvage a 1-1 draw at Granada and keep the Andalusian side winless in 12 consecutive rounds.
Lazio squandered a two-goal advantage to draw 2-2 at Inter Milan but will spend the winter break in third spot in Serie A after Sampdoria and Genoa also failed to win on Sunday.
Lazio moved above Napoli on goal difference. Sampdoria was also on 27 points after it was held to a 2-2 draw at home to Udinese in the final round of Serie A fixtures in 2014.
Genoa remained a point further back after losing 2-1 at relegation-threatened Torino.
Earlier, Chievo Verona beat city rival Hellas Verona 1-0 in a derby match. Also, Fiorentina was held to a 1-1 draw by Empoli, while Atalanta fought back from two goals down to draw 3-3 at home to Palermo.
Joselu's late equalizer salvaged a 2-2 draw for Hannover at Freiburg and left the home side bottom of the Bundesliga for the league's six-week winter break.
The Spanish striker struck in the third minute of injury time when an attempted clearance from Freiburg goalkeeper Roman Buerki went straight to his feet.
Freiburg would have climbed out of the relegation zone with a win, but remains bottom on goal difference from Borussia Dortmund.
Hertha Berlin slumped to a 5-0 loss at home to Hoffenheim, increasing the hosts' relegation fears.
Unbeaten Bayern Munich leads by 11 points with a Bundesliga-record 45 from the first half of the season.
For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!