Chelsea’s desperate attempt to snatch fourth place away from Spurs will go to the final two matches as Olivier Giroud’s first half goal downed Liverpool at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
The west Londoners are now just two points away from Spurs but the north Londoners need just one win, both at home to either Newcastle United or Leicester City.
But while still mathematically possible, Antonio Conte’s charges will continue to try and win - they face Huddersfield at home on Wednesday and then away to Newcastle in the final league match of the season.
Technically the Blues could overhaul third-place Liverpool, but either way, the prospect of Champions League football at Stamford Bridge next season is not high.
The Blues were 10 points behind Spurs after they drew 1-1 against West Ham four weeks ago and their late charge will most likely be a case of too little too late.
Chelsea managed to hold off a resolute charge by the Champions League finalists and this win will simply reinforce the notion of what if - what if the Blues did not drop so many needless points this season - especially at the Bridge.
Roberto Firmino had the first effort on goal after three minutes, outpacing Marcos Alonso and unleashing a fine drive that Thibaut Courtois did well to parry away to safety.
Chelsea’s first foray up front saw a mix-up between Olivier Giroud and Tiemoure Bakayoko where neither communicated to each other and a golden chance to finish of a Victor Moses byline cutback was horribly missed on 14 minutes.
Marcos Alonso let fly with a long-range effort two minutes later but the ball went straight inti the midriff of Loris Karius.
A blistering effort by Sadie mane forced Courtois into a brilliant diving save to his right to thwart the midfielder on 23 minutes.
Twice Courtois foils man in a space of 20 seconds as Liverpool looked to score at every counter-attack.
But when Chelsea did go forward they scored and it was a classic Chelsea goal.
A long diagonal ball by Bakayoko, on 33 minutes, onto Moses on the right saw the wing-back zip in a curling left footer which France international Olivier Giroud glanced past Karius after out jumping Dewan Lovren.
The striker raced to the dug out and embraced injured David Luiz.
Cesc Fabregas beat the offside and screwed his right-footed effort across Karius’ s goal. No one was in position to tap it in.
Two yellow cards in a space of a minute showed the visitors’ frustration. Salah booked for diving Nathaniel Clyne for hacking down Alonso.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Eden Hazard shimmied his way through the Liverpool rearguard and flashed a venomous left-footer towards goal that Karius brilliantly saved.
Antonio Rudiger then though he had doubled the lead but he was well offside with his close-range header on 56 minutes.
Ex-Chelsea Youth product Dominic Solanke entered the fray for Liverpool on 74 minutes, replacing Andrew Robertson as Jurgen Klopp added more firepower to his side. A sensational volley by Alonso inched past Karius’s left post after Moses sent in a deep right-wing cross.
Antonio Conte made his first change with five minutes left on the clock, Willian on for Hazard.
Moses was next to leave the field as David Zappacosta came on to shore up the defence with a minute left.
The late rally by by the Scousers failed to reap a goal although Solanke will be kicking himself that his close-range header was well off the mark.
Chelsea: Courtois, Rudiger, Alonso, Fabregas, Kante, Hazard, bakayoko, Moses, Giroud, Cahill, Azpilicueta
Subs: Caballero, barkley, Pedro, Zappacosta, Willian, Christensen, Emerson
Liverpool: Karius, Clyne, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Lovern, Milner, Firmino, Salah, Mane, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold
Subs: Mignolet, Henderson, Klavan, Moreno, Ings, Solanke, Woodbury
referee Anthony Taylor