Manchester City had to come from behind to hold Liverpool 1-1 as both teams lost ground in the Premier League following victories for Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
City, in third place, stayed a point ahead of the Merseysiders with a game in hand thanks to Sergio Aguero's equalising goal.
Knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco in midweek, City fell behind when full back Gael Clichy conceded a penalty six minutes after halftime and James Milner scored from the spot against his old club.
Liverpool, who had come into the game more after a slow start, were pegged back 18 minutes later when Aguero scored from Kevin de Bruyne's fine low cross.
De Bruyne then hit a post and Adam Lallana missed badly for Liverpool in an exciting finish.
Second-placed Tottenham Hotspur kept up the distant chase with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Southampton to cut the gap to 10 points.
Tottenham coped well without injured 19-goal striker Harry Kane with Christian Eriksen's superb 14th-minute shot putting them ahead before Dele Alli stroked home a second-half penalty.
James Ward-Prowse pulled a goal back after the break but Tottenham held on for a 10th successive home league victory -- their longest run since they won 14 in a row in 1987.
Tottenham's 59 points is their best performance after 28 games of a top-flight season since they won the league and FA Cup double in 1960-61.
Manchester United moved up to fifth with a 3-1 victory away to struggling Middlesbrough, who sacked manager Aitor Karanka.
Jose Mourinho had said his team would "probably lose" because their current fixture congestion would lead to fatigue, but despite missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera, they counter-attacked well.
Belgium international Marouane Fellaini headed them in front after almost half an hour's play for his first league goal of the season and Jesse Lingard scored the second just after the hour mark from 20 metres.
Boro' substitute Rudy Gestede pulled a goal back with 12 minutes left, but in added time goalkeeper Victor Valdes slipped, allowing Antonio Valencia to score a third United goal.
Middlesbrough, by far the lowest scoring team in the league, have still not won a league game in 2017.
With United going into the game unbeaten in the league since October, there could hardly have been a greater contrast between the two sides' form.