Gabriel Jesus scored twice in Manchester City's 3-0 Premier League win over 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers to take his tally to seven goals in three games.
The Brazilian striker tapped in after 10 minutes and struck again from the penalty spot before the break, after Wolves' Willy Boly was shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle on Bernardo Silva.
After back-to-back league defeats during the Christmas fixtures, City have now won five matches in a row in all competitions and look primed to give chase to Liverpool.
With Tottenham Hotspur's loss to Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp's Reds lead on 57 points, with City on 53 and Spurs on 48.
"We have played a lot of time with 10 against 11 and we should be more aggressive in our attacking play, but we have a lot of matches in our minds and our legs," said City manager Pep Guardiola, perhaps disappointed not to boost his side's goals tally further.
"We were solid and didn't give away many chances, so it is three points to keep the pressure on the team at the top."
City needed only 10 minutes to go ahead at the Etihad Stadium.
Aymeric Laporte played a superb pass to release Leroy Sane down the left channel and his cross was perfect for Jesus to score with a simple finish in front of goal.
The visitors' task became seemingly impossible nine minutes later, when Boly launched into a tackle on Bernardo Silva and won the ball, but also left the City midfielder rolling around with his follow through.
Raheem Sterling was sent sprawling in the area by Ryan Bennett and Jesus converted the penalty, and there was no way back for Wolves.
Wolves were diligent in defence after the break and restricted City's chances, although they did concede again, when substitute Kevin de Bruyne whipped in a cross that glanced in off Wolves' Conor Coady.
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo had no complaints about the red card for Boly, who will receive a three-match ban.
"Not only the red card changed the game, but the way we conceded with a long pass," he said.
"The red card makes the task much harder... you do not make a gameplan with one less man."