Liverpool’s Champions League ambitions were handed a timely boost on Sunday as Chelsea were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against West Ham at Stamford Bridge.
It was a former Manchester United man of all people that was at hand to assist the Reds, with Javier Hernandez coming off the bench to grab a 73rd minute equaliser for David Moyes men.
The Mexican’s goal snuffed out the advantage handed to the hosts by Cesar Azpilicueta’s first-half opener and subsequently damaged Chelsea’s own top-four hopes.
Antonio Conte’s fifth-placed side do have a game in hand on the third-placed Reds, although a significant 10-point separates the two.
Chelsea are now also 10 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who distanced themselves from their London rivals with a 2-1 win away to Stoke City on Saturday.
West Ham’s efforts mean Liverpool now need a maximum of nine points from their final five Premier League games to seal Champions League qualification.
Jurgen Klopp’s men will be eyeing their next three fixtures as a realistic window in which to seal a top four finish, with games at home to Bournemouth and Stoke sandwiching a trip to face seemingly Championship-bound West Brom.
Interestingly, the Reds follow up the trio with a visit to Stamford Bridge for a potentially defining top-four contest before concluding the campaign at home to Brighton.
The focus right now will be on the current Champions League campaign, which continues with Tuesday’s quarter-final second-leg against Manchester City.