It's Inter's to lose
Inter Milan took another huge step closer to the Italian title after extending their lead at the top of Serie A to 11 points on Saturday.
Defending champions Inter saw off Livorno 2-0 at the San Siro while closest challengers Roma lost 1-0 at third-place Juventus.
There was also disappointment for AC Milan who could not provide veteran defender Paolo Maldini with a victory on his 1,000th match in professional football as they drew 0-0 at lowly Parma.
Honduran forward David Suazo scored both Inter goals within four minutes of each other in the first half.
Inter had rested first-choice strike pair Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Julio Cruz ahead of their midweek Champions League trip to Liverpool, giving Suazo and Argentine Hernan Crespo a rare start up front.
France captain Patrick Vieira was suspended and Chilean midfield playmaker Luis Jimenez was out injured but it made no difference as Inter proved too powerful for opponents who only three days earlier had come away from the San Siro with a 1-1 draw against Milan.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini turned his attentions to the Liverpool match on Tuesday but refused to get carried away by the English team's embarrassing FA Cup defeat to second tier Barnsley on Saturday.
"The important thing was to win and now we can concentrate on the Champions League," said Mancini.
"Cup football is like this, you can lose despite coming close to scoring on many occasions," he added referring to Liverpool's defeat.
Inter had the game sewn up after 18 minutes as Suazo headed home a delightful inswinging free-kick from Romanian centre-back Cristian Chivu.
He was then on hand to tap home the loose ball after two defenders got in each other's way and failed to clear a cross from Brazilian left-back Maxwell, who had done well to skip past two challenges and get to the byline.
Inter have won 18 and drawn just five of their 23 matches this season. They also have the best attack and the meanest defence.
Roma missed the chance to keep pace with the champions as veteran Juve forward Alessandro Del Piero's bullet free-kick on the stroke of half-time settled the match.
"We knew we could play a great match and that's exactly what we did," said the match-winner.
It means Juve are just one point behind Roma in third now and will rest up in midweek as Roma tackle Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Del Piero rifled an unstopppable shot into the top corner after Czech winger Pavel Nedved had drawn a foul from French centre-back Philippe Mexes just over 20 yards from goal.
The closest Roma came to equalising was straight after the goal as Juve defender Nicola Legrottaglie turned a cross from Rodrigo Taddei onto his own post.
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti admitted his team had not risen to the occasion.
"We were slow in developing our quality and in understanding the flow of the game," he said. "We did not play our best."
Milan's point was enough for them to go fourth but Fiorentina can reclaim that place if they avoid defeat at home to Catania on Sunday.
Parma's Andrea Pisanu had the best chance of the first period but he completely missed a cross from the right with only Australian goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac to beat.
Even the introduction of Maldini on 68 minutes failed to spark a subdued Milan into life.
Parma again should have taken the lead on 65 minutes as substitute Igor Budan was played in one-on-one with Kalac by a clever pass from Andrea Gasbarroni but the Australian saved the European champions.
It was Milan's second draw in a week but the good news for them ahead of Champions League duty on Wednesday was Arsenal's 4-0 capitulation against Manchester United in the FA Cup.
"We're fourth and that was our aim before the Champions League started again, even if Fiorentina have played one game less," said Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti.
"It was a surprising result (Arsenal). It's nice to see and we hope it will be the same on Wednesday."