|Miccoli struck late after stubborn resistance from Livorno [GALLO/GETTY]
A late Fabrizio Miccoli strike fired Palermo back into fourth place in Italian Serie A as the Sicilians continued their fight for their first appearance in the European Champions League – and pushed Livorno closer to the drop.
Miccoli drove into the corner in the 81st minute to snatch victory after Livorno keeper Rubinho made a number of saves to thwart the team he left in the January transfer window.
Inter Milan were held to a goalless draw at home to Genoa in the late match, but stayed four points clear at the top.
Jose Mourinho's side dominated the match, but were often let down by wayward shooting or a poor final ball that allowed Genoa's defence time to clear and reorganise.
The champions could have stretched their lead to six points after second-placed AC Milan drew 0-0 at third-placed Roma on Saturday.
Palermo have 46 points from 27 games, enough for a place in the Champions League preliminaries, and two points more than Juventus who won 2-1 at Fiorentina on Saturday.
"We knew we would have to fight to get into the Champions League places, but here we are," Miccoli said on Sunday.
"The team went about its business in a serious way," Palermo coach Delio Rossi said.
"We stuck to our plan and we are having a good period, not conceding any goals."
Livorno are three points from safety in 18th place, one below former champions Lazio.
Sampdoria are also in the chase for Champions League qualification after a 2-1 comeback win at home over Lazio that puts them one point behind Juve in sixth.
Stefano Guberti's piledriver and a volley by Giampaolo Pazzini clinched it in the first half after Sergio Floccari's early opener for the Rome club.
Lazio had Mauro Zarate sent off for dissent in the 77th.
Sampa fans favourite Antonio Cassano came off the bench in the second half to return after an injury layoff and friction with coach Luigi Del Neri that almost led to him joining Fiorentina in the transfer window.
Cagliari forward Andrea Cossu, who made his Italy debut against Cameroon on Wednesday, scored in the 74th to give the Sardinians a 2-2 home draw with Catania shortly after they had Michele Canini sent off for a second yellow card.
Napoli are seventh after they went down 2-1 at Bologna, a result that means they have now gone six matches without a win.