(CNN) -- Fernando Torres scored an injury-time 50th Premier League goal for Liverpool to give his side a Champions League lifeline with a 1-0 win at Aston Villa -- in a game played in driving snow.
The Spaniard drilled a low shot across Villa keeper Brad Friedel in the 93rd minute, following a defensive mix-up, to become the fastest player in Reds history to score a half century of league goals.
It means Rafael Benitez's side are now only two points behind Villa and three adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham.
Liverpool keeper Jose Reina had earlier produced two crucial saves to deny Villa who were searching for their first home win over the Reds for nearly 12 years.
The Spaniard somehow kept out a close-range volley from Stewart Downing in the first half and then denied Villa's top scorer Gabriel Agbonlahor after he had broken clear in the second period.
And Liverpool appeared to have strong first half claims for a penalty after a challenge by Villa defender Richard Dunne on Dirk Kuyt.
Villa lacked sharpness and perhaps having a day less than Liverpool to recover from their opening game of the festive program -- a 3-0 reversal at Arsenal -- may have taken its toll.
Meanwhile, Hull midfielder Stephen Hunt scored twice in the last 19 minutes as Bolton's defensive deficiencies allowed their opponents to snatch a point in a 2-2 draw in the night's other Premier League match at the Reebok Stadium.
Wanderers looked comfortable after Ivan Klasnic's 20th-minute goal and Kevin Davies' second-half header.
However, Hunt nodded in from close-range to spread panic in a defence without a clean sheet all season and the Ireland international's cross-shot produced the equalizer 12 minutes from time.
Although Bolton have now taken six points from their last four matches for manager Gary Megson, who again fans called to be sacked, this was a huge missed opportunity.
Having been out-played for three quarters of the game Hull -- who have not won at Bolton since March 1935 -- will have been satisfied with a point as they had lost three of their last four league matches and are still to win away this season.