Chelsea have moved up to second in the English football premiership after Salomon Kalou scored twice in the second half in their 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool stuttered again by conceding a late equaliser to draw 1-all at Wigan Athletic and slip to third on goal difference.
Chelsea have 48 points from 23 matches, two behind United who thrashed bottom side West Bromwich Albion 5-0 yesterday and have played one game less than their pursuers.
Liverpool also have 48 points with Aston Villa in fourth and a point further back.
Fifth-placed Arsenal's fading title hopes suffered another blow despite Robin van Persie rescuing a point with a last-gasp equaliser in a 1-all draw at Goodison Park against sixth-placed Everton.
Britain's most expensive footballer Robinho, arrested earlier this week over allegations of serious sexual assault, played his part in Manchester City's 2-1 win over Newcastle United.
In other games, West Ham United beat Hull City 2-0 and Blackburn Rovers drew 2-2 at home with Bolton Wanderers.
Blackburn captain, the New Zealander Ryan Nelsen, had a chance to win the match in the last minute when his header hit the post.