Manchester City revived their Premier League title bid after a 2-0 win away to Crystal Palace moved them to within three points of leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.
Edin Dzeko’s fourth-minute header put City ahead before Yaya Toure doubled their lead shortly before half-time on Sunday when he curled a shot beyond goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
Victory also left City just a point behind second-placed Chelsea, who beat table-toppers Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield earlier on Sunday.
Significantly, Manuel Pellegrini’s City side still have three league games to play this season compared to Liverpool and Chelsea’s two apiece.
If City and Liverpool win all their remaining league matches, they will both finish with 86 points.
However, City currently have a superior goal difference of +58 compared to Liverpool’s +50 and Chelsea’s +43.
Shortly before City kicked-off at Selhurst Park, Chelsea kept their hopes of an English and European double alive with victory at Anfield.
Senegal striker Demba Ba gave Chelsea the lead in first-half stoppage time when a slip by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard allowed him to charge through and beat Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in a one-on-one.
Chelsea put the result beyond doubt in added time at the end of the match when, with the hosts pressing for an equaliser, former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres led a counter-attack before squaring the ball to substitute Willian for a simple finish.
Chelsea face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday after a goalless initial encounter in Spain.
Despite Sunday’s success, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insisted either Liverpool or City would end the season as champions of England.
“Now we can say we won both matches against the champions,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“If it’s Liverpool, we won both. If it’s City, we won both.
“The champions will be City or Liverpool so we have nothing to celebrate.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, a member of the backroom staff during Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge, bemoaned Chelsea’s defensive style.
“There was probably two buses parked today, rather than one,” he said.
“It’s the style of football, it’s a defensive style. It’s the polar opposite to how we work.”
But Rodgers insisted all was not lost for Liverpool.
“We are still two points ahead of a team (Chelsea) that has spent an absolute fortune.
“If we win our last two games, we finish above them and then we’ll see what happens with Manchester City.”
Sunderland climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 4-0 win at home to 10-man fellow strugglers Cardiff City.