Chelsea stormed to a 7-2 victory over Sunderland to remain a point clear at the top of the Premier League as champion Manchester United beat Burnley 3-0 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Liverpool conceded a 90th-minute tying goal at Stoke, missing out on a morale-boosting victory after being eliminated from the FA Cup by lowly Reading in mid-week.
Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka both scored twice for Chelsea against injury-plagued Sunderland.
"We have just given maybe our best performance of the season," said Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.
"This is how we should continue to play from now until the end of the campaign."
Chelsea delivered a master class in attacking football at Stamford Bridge to show it can prosper without African Cup of Nations quartet Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou.
Second-place United took until the second half to get going against Burnley, with Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and Mame Biram Diouf eventually scoring at Old Trafford.
"One thing you need is patience to wear teams down," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "We have that."
Sunderland managed two consolation goals through Bolo Zenden and Darren Bent. Steve Bruce's side has failed to win in its last eight league games.
At Old Trafford, Burnley threatened to thwart United again, having beaten the champions at the start of the season.
"It was a funny game," Ferguson said. "We had so many opportunities it was almost embarrassing we didn't score in the first half."
Liverpool's spirits flagging
Robert Huth grabbed the late goal for Stoke after Sotirios Kyrgiakos put Liverpool ahead in the 57th minute.
"It feels like a defeat," Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt said. "We aren't playing the best football at the moment but I thought we fought really hard for this result, and to concede in the last minute and even miss a great chance in the last minute is unbelievable."
Kuyt could've won the match in the final seconds of injury time, but his head ball went off the post.
Liverpool, which remains seventh in the league, also conceded a late goal to Reading on Wednesday, forcing the FA Cup third-round replay into extra time when the second-tier club produced a winner.
"Confidence isn't very high at the moment," Kuyt said. "But we have to keep going and work really, really hard and come out of this as quickly as possible."
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez made six changes to the side humiliated by Reading — four enforced by injuries to Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun and Daniel Agger.
Kyrgiakos, who joined in August, scored after Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen failed to catch Fabio Aurelio's free kick in a crowded penalty area, allowing the ball to be poked home.
But Stoke tied it as stoppage time approached. Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher gave Huth the space to fire the ball home at the far post when Matthew Etherington's corner was headed back across goal.
A week after the program was virtually wiped out by freezing conditions in England, only Portsmouth's home match against Birmingham fell victim to the weather.
The match at Fratton Park was called off hours before kickoff due to a waterlogged pitch — a result of the thaw.