Leeds United moved up to second with a 2-1 victory over Yorkshire neighbours Bradford City.
Following a goalless opening 45 minutes, Alan Smith put the hosts ahead with his fourth goal of the season.
And Leeds seemed comfortable when Ian Harte doubled their lead from the penalty spot with ten minutes remaining.
However, relegation-threatened Bradford pulled one back through Dean Windass to set up a tense finale.
The result left Leeds in second on 32 points, a point behind league leaders Manchester United. Bradford remained 17th on 12 points, with only a superior goal difference keeping them out of the bottom three.
A goal in either half saw Middlesbrough beat Liverpool to strengthen their place among the league's early pace-setters.
Chris Riggott converted Stewart Downing's cross from close range to put the hosts ahead after 36 minutes.
Boro assumed control, but were grateful to goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for keeping out Harry Kewell's header shortly after half-time.
Steve McClaren's side sealed their win on 62 minutes when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink found Boudewijn Zenden, whose well-timed run created the space for a one-on-one finish past Chris Kirkland.
The result left Middlesbrough in fourth on 25 points and Liverpool eighth on 20 points, five points outside the top four.