Manchester United extended their lead at the summit to 10 points with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.
United prevailed through strikes from top scorer Robin van Persie and captain Nemanja Vidic, while Reds newcomer Daniel Sturridge netted his second goal in as many outings for the eighth-placed Merseysiders.
Champions Manchester City can close the gap on their neighbours when they visit Arsenal in the later kick off.
The Red Devils dominated the first half of their tie, and struck 19 minutes in when Van Persie stroked home Patrice Evra's left-wing cross from inside the area.
Van Persie's strike partner Danny Welbeck threatened twice just past the half-hour mark, as he had a shot superbly blocked by Daniel Agger before drilling an effort over in the 35th minute.
Soon after Tom Cleverley thundered a volley just wide of the target after Joe Allen's attempted headed clearance fell kindly for the United midfielder.
The hosts nearly doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Van Persie's back-heel off a Rafael cut-back was scrambled off the line by Agger, with Shinji Kagawa fouled by Andre Wisdom when attempting to follow up. Referee Howard Webb, however, controversially failed to award a penalty.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men started the second stanza brightly, and added a second goal in the 54th minute when Evra nodded in Van Persie's free-kick at the back post after Martin Skrtel was booked for holding back Welbeck. The goal was credited to Vidic, with the Serbian unwittingly getting the slightest of touches on Evra's header.
The visitors, though, reduced the deficit three minutes later when substitute Sturridge, making his Premier League debut for the club, pounced from close range after a diving David De Gea palmed a Steven Gerrard shot into his path.
At the other end, Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina made a smart save to keep out a first-time effort from Kagawa in the 64th minute.
Liverpool grew in confidence as the match matured but were unable to find a way through, with substitute Fabio Borini flashing a menacing volley wide in the 72nd minute.
Sturridge then skied his attempt over from inside the box before rattling the side-netting from a tight angle in the final minute.
Moments later Van Persie registered the final attempt on goal of the game with an inventive back-heel that was comfortably gathered by Reina.