Curtis Jones scored twice as in-form Liverpool brushed aside hapless Leicester to maintain their recent winning streak and push the Foxes closer to Premier League relegation.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have won their past seven games to bolster their push for a top-four finish and now lie a point behind Newcastle and Manchester United, albeit having played a game more.
Another dismal loss for Leicester leaves the 2016 Premier League champions firmly rooted in danger in 19th position, two points adrift of safety with only two games remaining.
The Reds scored twice in the space of three first-half minutes through the same combination, Mohamed Salah twice feeding Jones who finished confidently to claim his first Premier League double.
It should have been 3-0 before half-time but home goalkeeper Daniel Iversen made a superb reaction save to deny Cody Gakpo from close range.
Salah claimed his third assist in the second period by laying off a free-kick for Trent Alexander-Arnold to curl a sublime finish into the top corner.
Has Liverpool’s charge for a Champions League spot come too late?
The two Uniteds above them need two wins from their last three games to guarantee a top-four finish but Liverpool are right on their tails and poised to profit from any mishaps.
The Reds started slowly at Leicester, Luis Diaz smashing into the side-netting and Fabinho blazing over the pick of their early openings.
But they clicked into gear on the half-hour mark as midfielder Jones took his tally to three goals in his last four games.
His first was a controlled finish at the far post from Salah’s deep cross and the second he thumped home following the Egyptian’s through ball.
Salah provided a hat-trick of assists by rolling the ball off for Alexander-Arnold’s stunning second-half strike, but the Egyptian must wait for his 20th goal of the campaign after a remarkable miss late on, putting wide when through on goal.
Liverpool face European-chasing Aston Villa at home on Saturday and round off their season against relegated Southampton knowing maximum points in those games may complete a stunning turnaround in an otherwise disappointing season.
Leicester look doomed and are prime candidates to join Southampton in the Championship next season.
The Foxes have collected just one win in their last 14 games – earning six points in total during that run – and lost at home for a club-record equalling 10th time this season.
Their frailties lie at the back where boss Dean Smith made another change by giving a start and handing the captain’s armband to Jonny Evans, who has played one minute of top-flight football in the last seven months.
But it was ill-fated defensive partner Wout Faes – the scorer of two own goals in December’s reverse fixture – who was culpable for both of Jones’ strikes.
The Belgian lost the flight of the ball for the first, failing to clear as the it dropped from the sky, and was caught out of position for the second, running out to intercept a pass without success.
The hosts had shown bright sparks early on but their confidence ebbed away alarmingly once they conceded.
Harvey Barnes forced Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson into a fine flying save with a curling effort in the second half, but the sorry home side never looked like making a comeback.
The Foxes have fixtures remaining at Newcastle and home to West Ham as they bid to avoid the ignominy of relegation just seven years after their remarkable title triumph.