Steven Gerrard twice held his nerve from the penalty spot to keep Liverpool's title bid on course with a battling 2-1 win at West Ham.
Referee Anthony Taylor found himself at the centre of the action at Upton Park from the moment he penalised James Tomkins for handball late in the first half, allowing Gerrard to notch his first goal two minutes before the break.
But West Ham went in level through Guy Demel's first goal for the club, which came after Simon Mignolet had dropped a corner under pressure of highly questionable legality from ex-Liverpool striker Andy Carroll.
Carroll headed against the crossbar after the hour before West Ham's Adrian became the second goalkeeper to fall foul of Taylor, who adjudged him to have impeded Jon Flanagan for Gerrard's second penalty in the 71st minute.
Luis Suarez curled a first-time effort against the frame of the goal late on, but Liverpool had already done enough to maintain their quest for the Premier League crown.
Brendan Rodgers' side return to the top of the table, two points above Chelsea and four ahead of Manchester City - who have played two games less and head to Anfield for what looks set to be a season-defining encounter in seven days' time.
Napoli loanee Pablo Armero made his full debut for West Ham after left-back George McCartney suffered a hamstring strain in Monday's 2-1 win at Sunderland.
A knee injury suffered in training by Daniel Agger meant a change for Liverpool at centre-back - Mamadou Sakho starting for the first time since they last lost in the league, at Chelsea on December 29.
Suarez had been the central figure in the subsequent 11 wins and two league draws, and the forward glanced the top of the netting with an early free-kick.
Largely well shackled by Tomkins during the opening stages, Suarez engineered room to arch a delicate 20th-minute attempt against the far post.
Daniel Sturridge then twice blasted over but the contest remained disjointed until an explosive end to the half
In the 43rd minute, Gerrard, whose raking ball was collected by Suarez to draw a handball from Tomkins, coolly converted from the spot.
But West Ham found an instant response in controversial circumstances as Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet - struck by a flailing arm under pressure from Carroll - dropped Mark Noble's corner for Demel to prod home.
Amid understandable protests from the visitors, referee Taylor signalled for the goal, and he did so again following lengthy consultation with his assistant.
Carroll again made a nuisance of himself on set-pieces early in the second period as Liverpool, who began the half with Lucas Leiva on in place of playmaker Philippe Coutinho, found clear chances at a premium.
There were no question marks when Carroll got the better of Mignolet in the 62nd minute, only to see his powerful header from Mohamed Diame's cross cannon back of the crossbar.
But Taylor once again placed himself at the centre of the action soon afterwards, awarding Liverpool a second penalty despite Adrian appearing to get a touch on the ball before bringing down rampaging full-back Flanagan.
Gerrard made no mistake from the spot again before Suarez was denied by both the crossbar and Adrian, as Liverpool closed out the kind of gritty win upon which title triumphs are often built.
|Coach: S. Allardyce|
for K. Nolan 68'
for M. Taylor 78'
for M. Diamé 84'
|BREAKING NEWS: Mason in stable condition after skull fracture|
|Senegal v Algeria: Misfiring favourites in last-chance saloon|
|PSV provide perfect finish for darts champ Van Gerwen|
|Broos predicts ´something great´ for Cameroon|
|Eibar 0 Barcelona 4: MSN see Barca to victory after Busquets blow|
|Busquets sustains ankle ligament damage in Eibar v Barcelona|
|Cameroon 0 Gabon 0: Aubameyang miss haunts hosts as AFCON campaign ends|
|Guinea-Bissau 0 Burkina Faso 2: Traore on target as Stallions advance|
|Busquets injury at Eibar compounds Barcelona midfield woes|
|Deulofeu lands in Italy ahead of AC Milan move|
|´I made the best decision´ - Conte basks in Costa recall|
|Wenger urges Xhaka not to ´punish´ Arsenal|
|Ex-Bastia man Palmieri questions Balotelli racial abuse claims|
|Costa reaction hailed by Cahill|
|Manchester City must be mentally strong, says embattled Bravo|
|Chelsea 2 Hull City 0: Costa back with a bang for Blues|
|Koke lauds Griezmann ´stroke of genius´ as Atletico snatch draw|
|Pioli questions Ansaldi dismissal|
|´I should have shut up and I apologise´ - Wenger sorry for ref rant|
|Arsenal can be proud of this red-card record|
|Mustafi: Arsenal never give up|
|Higuain: Lazio posed no threat to Juventus|
|Athletic Bilbao 2 Atletico Madrid 2: Griezmann magic rescues point|
|Puel unsure Van Dijk will be fit for Liverpool clash|
|Free-scoring Monaco return to Ligue 1 summit|
|Arsenal 2 Burnley 1: Sanchez snatches thrilling win for 10-man Gunners|
|Palermo 0 Inter 1: Joao Mario strike extends Inter streak|
|Arsenal fans give Alexis Sanchez paws for thought|
|Costa returns to Chelsea XI to face Hull City|
|Inter cannot delude fans about Messi - Ausilio|
|Allegri admits new Juventus formation was a ´mad idea´|
|Leicester boss Ranieri admits to tactical mistakes|
|Zimbabwe v Tunisia: Kasperczek demands ruthlessness with quarter-final spot on the line|
|Southampton 3 Leicester City 0: Saints end losing streak but suffer potential Van Dijk blow|
|Juventus 2 Lazio 0: Dybala and Higuain strikes see leaders return to form|
|Iborra makes a mark at both ends as Sevilla scrape past Osasuna|
|Pogba hails ´brother´ Griezmann as Manchester United speculation continues|
|Costa fight rumour ´not nice´, says Courtois|
|Henry makes emotional Ozil plea: Stay and become an Arsenal legend|
|Welbeck still has huge promise, says Wenger|
|A-League Review: Wanderers finally end home hoodoo|
|Tevez denies he´s highest-paid player after CSL move|
|Napoli capable of greatness - Sarri|
|Montella proud of Milan display against Napoli|
|Ramos tells Madrid fans: We need support|
|Conte: Costa committed to Chelsea|
|Callejon credits ´Maradona effect´ as Napoli down AC Milan|
|Uganda didn´t deserve to lose - Sredojevic|
|Lloris kept us in the game - Pochettino backs captain despite errors|
|Guardiola ´never going to give up´ on Premier League title|
|Chapecoense make emotional return to football|
|Allardyce: Players don´t want to join Palace relegation fight|
|Pulis backs Berahino to get back on track at Stoke|
|AC Milan 1 Napoli 2: Callejon settles San Siro thriller|
|Guinea-Bissau v Burkina Faso: Cande not thinking about going home|
|Egypt 1 Uganda 0: El Said to the rescue for Pharaohs|
|Gabriel Jesus delighted to make Premier League bow|
|England boss Southgate lauds record-breaker Rooney|
|Leipzig beat Frankfurt to cut Bayern´s lead|
|Guardiola blasts missed chances, not referee, after Spurs draw|
|Candid Pochettino says City were unlucky not to beat Spurs|
|AC Milan ´still negotiating´ over Deulofeu|
|Ben Arfa content with striker role at PSG|
|Walker admits to Sterling push in contentious City-Spurs draw|
|Emery hails PSG personality after tricky Nantes test|
|Manchester City 2 Tottenham 2: Controversial Son strike bails out Lloris|
|Record-breaking Rooney: Lineker, Shearer and wife Coleen lead Twitter tributes|
|Knee surgery to end Ogbonna season - Bilic|
|Karanka hits out at ´awful´ Riverside atmosphere|
|Zidane urges Madrid fans to stick with Ronaldo and Benzema|
|Palace players not to blame for last-gasp defeat, claims Allardyce|
|Zidane frustrated as Marcelo and Modric add to Madrid´s injury worries|
|Howe praises Bournemouth ´fighters´ after Watford draw|
|Poor goals a disease for Sunderland - Moyes|
|Charlton, Ferguson hail ´true great´ Rooney|
|Tuchel annoyed by ´sluggish´ Dortmund|
|Mourinho: Rooney now a Manchester United legend|
|Ghana 1 Mali 0: Gyan heads Black Stars into quarter-finals|
|Nantes 0 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Cavani at the double as champions close on Nice|
|Better at Old Trafford, prolific against Arsenal - Rooney´s record in Opta numbers|
|Rooney: Record means a hell of a lot but I´m still disappointed|
|Fener free-kick to derby delight - Rooney´s top 10 Manchester United goals|
|Rooney merits place in history, forget the present and future struggles|
|Crystal Palace 0 Everton 1: Coleman late-show extends Allardyce´s losing run|
|Real Madrid 2 Malaga 1: Ramos double gets leaders back on track|
|Stoke City 1 Manchester United 1: Record-breaking Rooney snatches draw|
|West Brom 2 Sunderland 0: Baggies inflict more misery on Moyes´ men|
|Bournemouth 2 Watford 2: Hosts come from behind twice|
|Middlesbrough 1 West Ham 3: Rejuvenated Carroll makes the difference|
|Rooney becomes Manchester United´s all-time top goalscorer|
|Werder Bremen 1 Borussia Dortmund 2: Piszczek winner denies fightback|
|Cameroon v Gabon: Hosts look to avoid early exit|
|Swansea worthy winners at Anfield - Clement|
|Rummenigge defends Guardiola: Manchester City simply not as good as Bayern|
|Swansea had perfect gameplan, says match-winner Sigurdsson|
|Klopp baffled by sloppy Liverpool|
|Henry: Arsenal don´t need Payet – they have Iwobi|
|Allegri: Juventus have not lost their quality all of a sudden|
|Liverpool 2 Swansea City 3: Llorente and Sigurdsson stun Anfield|
|Nainggolan as valuable as Pogba - Spalletti|
|Atletico criticism excites Simeone|
|Luis Enrique worried about Eibar´s pitch|
|Januzaj: Pogba wants me back at Manchester United|
|There is nobody like him – Luis Enrique rues Iniesta absence|
|Mourinho: United need De Gea and Romero to stay|
|Chiellini: Sixth successive title would make Juventus players legends|
|A-League Review: Taggart fires Perth to glory|
|Balotelli furious after alleged racial abuse at Bastia|
|Tottenham stronger than previous seasons - Eriksen|
|Wenger prepared for 17 cup finals to overhaul Chelsea|
|Maldini: Donnarumma can emulate my Milan success|
|Klopp urges Liverpool to enjoy title race|
|Shaw going through ´difficult period´ - Mourinho|
|Klopp not worried by Sturridge, Origi form|
|De Gea backs ´amazing´ Pogba|
|Pochettino: Tottenham bigger than City|
|Conte: I trust Diego Costa 100 per cent|
|Lewandowski admits he was lucky for Bayern winner|
|City as sharp as Barca and Bayern but lacking consistency, says Guardiola|