(CNN) -- Didier Drogba fired rejuvenated Chelsea to within four points of quintuple-chasing Premier League leaders Manchester United with the only goal at Portsmouth on Tuesday.
Didier Drogba gave Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink his fourth straight win since taking charge.
Third-placed Liverpool joined Chelsea on 58 points following a 2-0 home eclipse of Sunderland thanks to French teenager David Ngog's first goal for the club and a Yossi Benayoun effort at Anfield.
Arsenal kept the pressure on Aston Villa for the fourth Champions League slot with Nicklas Bendtner scoring twice as they swept aside relegation candidates West Bromwich 3-1 away.
Ivory Coast international striker Drogba converted a low 79th minute cross from Jose Bosingwa in atrocious conditions to hand interim coach Guus Hiddink his fourth straight win as Chelsea boss.
It was only Drogba's second goal of the season and came on his 200th appearance for the club, but United manager Alex Ferguson will not have lost any sleep ahead of Wednesday trip to Newcastle.
United have two games in hand and Ferguson delivered a defiant message to their championship rivals earlier in the day when he promised: "We will not be falling into any traps."
Ferguson added: "March and April are the key months that will decide the league. I keep saying it, but no one listens. We have lost leads because of bad form in March and April; we have won them by going on fantastic runs. How can we possibly take anything lightly?"
Chelsea were made to battle all the way by Pompey who remain just two points off the relegation places and who confirmed that caretaker-chief Paul Hart will remain in charge for the rest of the season
Liverpool's second home league win since Boxing Day lifted the gloom that has descended on Anfield following the shambles at Middlesbrough at the weekend.
Coach Rafael Benitez will have been heartened by a decent display ahead of next week's Champions League showdown with Real Madrid, with the Reds leading 1-0.
Tuesday's breakthrough came on 52 minutes when Albert Riera sent over a deep cross that Steven Gerrard headed back into the six-yard box for Ngog to fire home.
The youngster then helped set up the second on 66 minutes for Benayoun who told Sky Sports 1: "I'm happy with the goal, but the most important thing is the points."
He added: "After we lost against Middlesbrough, it was important to come back to winning ways. Now we have time to think about Real Madrid .
"We did a job tonight. It is important for everyone to show the supporters -- even if it is not to win the league but to finish second and do our best."
Denmark international Bendtner took his goal tally for the campaign to 11 as Arsene Wenger's side moved to within three points of fourth-placed Villa.
Kolo Toure was also on target for the Gunners who had failed to net in their previous four league games with Albion managing a solitary reply from Chris Brunt.
Russia international Andrey Arshavin looked sharp in his second start for Arsenal who are now unbeaten in 14 league games.
They went ahead after four minutes when Bendtner drilled a low left-footed drive across Scott Carson into the corner of the net. Albion drew level three minutes later before Toure (38) and Bendtner (44) wrapped up the points.