Having won a thrilling UEFA Cup final against Alaves just three days earlier to complete an incredible treble - adding the European trophy to the FA Cup and League Cup - Gerard Houllier's Liverpool headed into their final Premier League game of the season with a place in the Champions League at stake.
Victory against Charlton Athletic would secure Liverpool third spot and a place in European football's flagship competition for the first time since it replaced the European Cup in 1992.
The battle for qualification looked to have turned in Leeds United's favour earlier in April when David O'Leary's side won 2-1 at Anfield but the Reds won five of the next six matches, drawing the other one, to set up a final-day decider at Charlton.
Houllier's side rode their luck in the first half at The Valley as Jamie Carragher escaped a penalty appeal for handling in the box and Mathias Svensson headed against the post. But, after the break, the Reds imposed themselves as Robbie Fowler hit a brace and strikes from Danny Murphy and Michael Owen secured a 4-0 win.
"We had a little talk at half-time," Houllier said after the match. "But I won't tell you what I said."
Leeds, who had pipped Liverpool to the final Champions League qualifying spot the season before, beat Leicester City 3-1 but remained a point behind Liverpool and missed out.