Liverpool moved back top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win at Cardiff, but Manchester United and Arsenal did little for their chances of Champions League qualification for next season in shock defeats to Everton and Crystal Palace respectively on Sunday.
United were thrashed 4-0 at Everton to continue a miserable run of six defeats from their last eight games.
Arsenal remain fourth, but failed to open up a five-point lead over United as Crystal Palace became the first visiting side to win at the Emirates in the Premier League since Manchester City on the opening weekend of the campaign with an impressive 3-2 victory.
Liverpool suffered no such slip ups to move two points ahead of Manchester City, who still have a game in hand, at the top.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have now won their last nine games in all competitions, to also set up a Champions League semifinal against Barcelona.
“It’s really massive. We spoke a lot about this game, how special it is, how special the situation is for the opponent,” said Klopp, who bemoaned the dry state of Cardiff’s pitch under baking temperatures.
But in keeping with recent weeks, Klopp could not relax until late on as Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah missed big chances to give the visitors a first-half lead.
Georginio Wijnaldum finally broke the deadlock in emphatic fashion with a thumping finish from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner just before the hour mark.
Liverpool had to survive one major scare when Cardiff captain Sean Morrison failed to connect with his head when it seemed harder to miss with the goal at his mercy 26 minutes from time.
Morrison then compounded his error at the other end when he grappled with Salah inside the area and referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot, even though the Egyptian threw himself dramatically to the floor.
James Milner stepped up to bury the resulting penalty and ensure Liverpool are poised to strike if City stumble.
Unfortunately, for Klopp’s side, United look in no fit state to inflict the blow on the champions they need come the Manchester derby on Wednesday.