City travel to Manchester United on Wednesday in what appears the toughest hurdle left for the English champions to clear and deny Liverpool a first Premier League title in 29 years
Liverpool continue to put the pressure on Manchester City as a hard-fought 2-0 win at relegation threatened Cardiff moved them back top of the Premier League on Sunday.
Georginio Wijnaldum's opener just before the hour and James Milner's penalty secured a ninth consecutive win in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp's side and moved them two points ahead of City, who have a game in hand, at the top of the table.
City travel to Manchester United on Wednesday in what appears the toughest hurdle left for the English champions to clear and deny Liverpool a first Premier League title in 29 years.
The Reds remain poised to pounce if Pep Guardiola's side fail to pick up maximum points in their remaining four games.
While Liverpool were cruising into a second successive Champions League semi-final in midweek, Cardiff gave their chances of survival a huge boost with a 2-0 win at Brighton to close within three points of safety.
If Neil Warnock's men are to defy the odds to stay up, it is upcoming games against already relegated Fulham and Crystal Palace they will need to win, but they did not make life easy for Liverpool.
The visitors should have taken the lead midway through the first-half when their front three clicked together for the first time when Mohamed Salah fed Sadio Mane and the Senegalese's pass put Roberto Firmino clean through on goal. However, the Brazilian blazed over with just Neil Etheridge to beat.
Salah has found his form in front of goal at the right time for Liverpool's bid for a Premier League and Champions League double.
However, after scoring in three of his past four games, Salah could not keep that streak going as he fired too close to Etheridge when played in by Jordan Henderson.
Liverpool have now recorded a PL era club record 88 points - their most in a season since gaining 90 points (from 40 games) in 1987-88 pic.twitter.com/jTMb0CIoSM— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) April 21, 2019
Cardiff's massed ranks of defence allowed Liverpool to enjoy nearly 75 percent possession, but the home team did not pose a threat of their own until they nearly took a shock lead just before the break.
Victor Camarasa's mishit shot fell kindly for Oumar Niasse and the on loan Everton striker nearly brought even more a smile to fans of his parent club on a day they beat Manchester United 4-0, but his shot was turned over by Alisson Becker.
There was little reason for Liverpool to panic at half-time as their previous four Premier League games had also been won with second-half goals and so it proved once more.
5 - Mohamed Salah has won five penalties this season in the Premier League, only Wilfried Zaha (6) has won more. No other Liverpool player has earned more than one. Precarious. #CARLIV pic.twitter.com/xhpR94zhU1— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 21, 2019
Trent Alexander-Arnold bagged his 10th assist of the season as the England international's corner was pulled back for Wijnaldum to lash into the net first time.
Liverpool's midfield has begun to chip in with crucial goals at the right time of the season and Henderson should have provided another moments later when he fired wastefully over with the goal at his mercy.
Klopp vented his frustration at Henderson's miss and it was nearly costly when Cardiff captain Sean Morrison had a glorious chance to level 26 minutes from time.
Morrison seemed to have the simple task of heading into an empty net as Alisson got caught underneath a corner, but he mistimed his header and the ball instead bounced to safety off his back.
And Morrison was the Cardiff villain at the other end when he was adjudged to have brought down Salah inside the area 10 minutes from time and substitute Milner confidently dispatched the spot-kick.
Arsenal 2 (Ozil 47, Aubameyang 77) Crystal Palace 3 (Benteke 17, Zaha 61, McArthur 69)
Cardiff 0 Liverpool 2 (Wijnaldum 57, Milner 81-pen)
Everton 4 (Richarlison 13, Sigurdsson 28, Digne 56, Walcott 64) Manchester United 0
English Premier League table (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):
Liverpool 35 27 7 1 79 20 88
Man City 34 28 2 4 87 22 86
Tottenham 34 22 1 11 64 35 67
Arsenal 34 20 6 8 68 43 66
Chelsea 34 20 6 8 57 36 66
Man Utd 34 19 7 8 63 48 64
Everton 35 14 7 14 50 44 49
Watford 34 14 7 13 49 49 49
Leicester 35 14 6 15 48 47 48
Wolves 34 13 9 12 41 42 48
West Ham 35 12 7 16 44 54 43
Crystal Palace 35 12 6 17 43 48 42
Newcastle 35 11 8 16 35 44 41
Bournemouth 35 12 5 18 49 62 41
Burnley 34 11 6 17 42 60 39
Southampton 34 9 9 16 40 57 36
Brighton 34 9 7 18 32 53 34
Cardiff 35 9 4 22 30 65 31
Fulham 35 6 5 24 33 76 23 -- relegated
Huddersfield 35 3 5 27 20 69 14 -- relegated