Shelvey should have doubled the advantage when firing badly wide from the edge of the area, Perez then dragging a shot wide from a centre by Gayle, who came close to claiming a second when Courtois beat out his fierce low shot as the visitors somehow held on. "We are still talking, so we will see".
The former Italy boss has endured a tougher campaign this time around, as Chelsea sit outside the Champions League spots, but hope remains to land the FA Cup. This season until he stayed here he helped me a lot.
It might have been worse seconds later when Shelvey powered his way into the box, only to blast his left-footed effort past a post when he seemed certain to score, and Courtois made a fine one-handed save to keep out Gayle's 27th-minute drive.
The Stamford Bridge outfits inability to pick up all three points against David Wagner's Terriers has left their hopes of finishing in the top four hanging by a thread, and it seems that the Blues players were also left dismayed by their managers decision to rotate his squad for such a crucial fixture.
But Saint Nick it seems was simply just delayed on his way to Tyneside, as he's bestowed some belated New Year cheer on the club - who lost just two of the next 13, winning six, with a succession of four straight victories over Southampton, Huddersfield, Leicester and Arsenal seeing them steadily ascend the table.
A Liverpool draw however would consign fifth-placed Chelsea to the dubious consolation prize of Europa League football.
"We're still talking and we will see what happens". True, a top-four finish was an extremely remote possibility.
Antonio Conte looks set for the exit door at Chelsea. You can ask the club what is the damage of being out of the Champions League. An early goal for Andy King was long forgotten after Badou Ndiaye and Peter Crouch gave the traveling Potters support a win in their final Premier League match for at least 15 months.
But Conte admitted he was in the dark regarding Chelsea's summer plans, suggesting he will leave the club this summer.
"Are Chelsea are in a better place now?"