Premier League leaders Liverpool stumbled again at home on Saturday and needed two Steven Gerrard goals to salvage a 2-2 draw with Hull City.
Liverpool fluffed the opportunity to open a four-point gap on second-placed Chelsea and it could have been even worse after they trailed 2-0 in the 22nd minute, the second Hull effort an own goal by Jamie Carragher.
Luckily for the leaders two of their title rivals also dropped points. Champions Manchester United drew 0-0 at Tottenham Hotspur before flying off to compete in FIFA's World Club Cup in Japan while Arsenal were held 1-1 at Middlesbrough.
Former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere earned Boro a point with a headed equaliser after Emmanuel Adebayor had put the Gunners in front.
Chelsea will be the weekend's big winners if they beat West Ham United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to go top.
"We have to be disappointed because we have lost an opportunity," frustrated Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez told the BBC.
"We have lost two points at home and that's three home games (in a row) that we could have won. But we have to keep going."
Aston Villa moved above Arsenal into fourth spot thanks to a 4-2 home win over Bolton Wanderers, Gabriel Agbonlahor scoring twice for Martin O'Neill's men.
Liverpool have 38 points from 17 games, Chelsea have 36 from 16 with United on 32 from 16. Villa have 31 with Arsenal a further point back.
Sunderland moved out of the bottom three with a 4-0 romp at home to bottom club West Bromwich Albion, who appear to be plunging towards a quick return to the Championship (second division).
Sunderland are fourth from bottom with 18 points, the same as big-spending Manchester City who were beaten 1-0 at home by Everton to leave manager Mark Hughes under pressure.
Blackburn Rovers were thumped 3-0 at Wigan Athletic while Stoke City and Fulham ended goalless.
Liverpool have drawn at home to Stoke City, Fulham, West Ham and Hull this season, a trend threatening to derail hopes of their first top-flight title since 1989-90.
There was stunned silence at Anfield when Paul McShane headed in Marlon King's cross and then Carragher turned Bernard Mendy's centre into his own net.
Gerrard, so often Liverpool's saviour, single-handedly brought his team level with two rasping shots in the space of eight minutes before halftime.
Defender Sami Hyypia came closest to winning it for Liverpool after the break when his header came back off the post as big-money signing Robbie Keane remained on the substitutes' bench.
"Using more people in the box is not a guarantee (of victory)," Benitez said of his decision not to use Keane, despite Fernando Torres being unavailable with injury.
Dimitar Berbatov was booed on his return to White Hart Lane where United were disappointing against a Tottenham side who enjoyed the game's best chances.
Luka Modric went close with a diving header while David Bentley twice tested keeper Edwin Van der Sar. United almost stole the points in stoppage time when Ryan Giggs's free kick was brilliantly clawed out by Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes.