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Suarez's double powers Liverpool into top spot

LONDON -- 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.

Another double from the Uruguay striker on Saturday clinched a 3-1 victory over Cardiff that took Liverpool to the top of the standings, for now, having finished seventh last season.

“We can't ever think we have cracked it. We can't become complacent, you have to be focused and move on to the next game,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said. “We are very calm. We are not getting carried away. We are focusing on improving our performance level.”

Manchester City is just a point behind after winning 4-2 at Fulham, despite throwing 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 to make 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.

Hull was the last team to beat Liverpool, on Dec. 1, but a fourth straight win since that setback was produced in style.

In those four games, the Reds have scored 17 goals — 10 provided by Suarez — and conceded just three.

The latest double from the striker came a day after signing a new contract through 2018, having been denied a transfer to Arsenal in the summer transfer window.

There's certainly been no lingering, obvious bitterness at that snub. His tally for the season is a league-leading 19 despite missing the first five games while banned for biting.

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 Costa nets 2, Atletico beats Levante 3-2 
Liverpool's Luis Suarez, right, scores his team's third goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Cardiff City at Anfield in Liverpool, England on Saturday, Dec. 21. (AP)

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