LONDON: Timo Werner ended his goal drought to help lift Chelsea to a 1-0 win at West Ham, putting them in pole position to clinch a spot in the top four.

Chelsea edged ahead in the race for the top four with a 1-0 victory over fellow Champions League hopefuls West Ham.

A rare goal from Timo Werner, only his second in the league since November, saw the Blues move three points clear of their fifth-placed hosts.

It was hardly Super League stuff from Thomas Tuchel’s side, but they got the job done ahead of a genuine European showdown against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

West Ham, who kicked off behind Chelsea on goal difference, had every reason to be affronted at the proposed breakaway league given that they were above four of the six clubs involved when it was announced.

They were feeling hard done by again when a late VAR decision saw defender Fabian Balbuena shown one of the most ludicrous red cards of the season.

Nevertheless a favourable run-in means we may not have seen the last of David Moyes’ boys in the Champions League mix.

Chelsea dominated early on and created three good chances in the opening 15 minutes, first when Mason Mount drifted into space down the right and laid the ball back to Werner, who scooped his first-time shot over.

Moments later Mount’s quick feet in the area took him past Tomas Soucek and Issa Diop but his low shot was held by Lukasz Fabianski.

Then Werner pulled the ball back for Christian Pulisic, unmarked, but he hurried his effort and fired straight at Fabianski.

West Ham’s best chance of the first half came in the 35th minute when Soucek pounced on a loose ball from a free-kick and prodded goalwards.

His effort was blocked on the line by Cesar Azpilicueta with VAR confirming, despite West Ham’s pleas, that the Blues skipper had not handled the ball.

Instead it was Chelsea who went in ahead at the break after Werner laid the ball off to Christian Pulisic and then raced into the box to receive Ben Chilwell’s low cross and convert from eight yards.

Liverpool held

Liverpool’s top-four hopes suffered another setback as Joe Willock netted a 95th minute equaliser for Newcastle in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were unable to secure three points in the race to remain in it, as Willock struck from close range just minutes after Callum Wilson saw his effort ruled out for handball.

Klopp’s side may have to settle for Europa League football next season.

Mohamed Salah’s strike in the third minute set the tone for what would be a highly-entertaining game, even if the scoreline suggested otherwise.

The Newcastle defence failed to clear Sadio Mane’s cross into the box, and Salah did brilliantly to control and turn before rifling the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Salah struck with what turned out to be the most difficult chance of the contest, as both sides struggled to capitalise on numerous opportunities to score.

Liverpool opted for a change of approach with Klopp going with a 4-2-3-1 as opposed to their preferred 4-3-3. Salah and Mane were joined by Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota, with the latter taking up the CAM role. It led to a fluent attacking performance that lacked a clinical edge.

The issue for the hosts was how open it also left them through the middle and they struggled to get to grips with Newcastle’s speed on the counter attack. Allan Saint-Maximin’s pace and trickery caused issues for the Reds’ defence but it was the nervy final moments where they struck.

Firmino, Jota, Mane, Salah and James Milner all had shots on target and that inability to convert ultimately cost them in the end, as Willock’s deflected effort from inside the box found the back of the net in the final seconds.

That goal came shortly after Wilson thought he had scored the equaliser. His initial shot was saved by Alisson before he bundled the deflection across the line. However, on review, it was clear that the ball had struck his arm on the way in and, while harsh, it was rightly ruled out.

A point pushed Newcastle further away from the relegation zone, with nine points separating them and Fulham with five games remaining, while Liverpool remain a point outside the top-four ahead of West Ham’s meeting with Chelsea on Saturday evening.

** Watford followed Norwich in securing an immediate return to the Premier League after securing promotion with a 1-0 win over Millwall.