Leicester beat Aston Villa 4-1 at Villa Park with Jamie Vardy scoring twice to cement their grip on the second spot.
Vardy started and finished the scoring, netting for the eighth game in a row, while Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans were also on target either side of Jack Grealish’s strike.
It was enough to move Brendan Rodgers’ side six points clear of Manchester City as Liverpool’s nearest rivals, while Aston Villa remain outside of the relegation zone only on goal difference.
In an open and entertaining contest on the day that Villa marked the sad passing of former manager Ron Saunders, the greater thrust of the visitors’ forward line proved decisive.
Aston Villa actually had the first clear chance of the game but Anwar El Ghazi contrived to fire against the crossbar from close range and it soon proved costly for the home side.
Wesley surrendered possession in his own half and Iheanacho’s clever ball found Vardy who rounded Tom Heaton and found the net at the second attempt after scuffing his first effort.
Vardy had the chance to double the lead soon after when he saw his shot blocked and then should have returned the favour to Iheanacho but was unable to pick him out with his pass.
Iheanacho did not have to wait long for his goal though and turned in James Maddison’s cross from the left in at the near post after good work by Caglar Soyuncu in the build-up.
That goal left the home crowd stunned and with Tyrone Mings having already succumbed to a muscle injury all hope seemed lost.
But in first-half stoppage time, Grealish, Villa’s talismanic captain, struck a deflected shot that beat Kasper Schmeichel at the far post.
That goal meant that the result was in the balance after the break but the feeling didn’t last long as Villa’s poor marking from a set piece proved their undoing.
Maddison’s drilled corner found the head of the unmarked Jonny Evans who expertly forced the ball into the far corner of the net to open up a two-goal lead once more.
Maddison and Barnes missed good opportunities to extend the lead further before Dennis Praet’s lofted pass sent Vardy clear for his second of the afternoon and 16th of the season.
There was still time for Heaton to save brilliantly from Soyuncu but Leicester could settle for an eighth consecutive Premier League victory – their best ever sequence of wins in the top flight. Villa look like a team in need of one.