The reigning Premier League champions sat eight points behind the league leaders prior to the weekend's fixtures and were able to cut that deficit to five on the back of a 27th-minute header from former Gunners star Robin van Persie.
In-form striker Luis Suarez tallied his seventh and eighth league goals of the season with deft finishes either side of half-time after an own-goal from Fernando Amorebieta and a thunderous header from Martin Skrtel gave the Reds the ascendency.
The Saints extended their unbeaten run to eight league matches with goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert (penalty), Adam Lallana and Steven Davis as Yannick Sagbo got one back for the Tigers early in the second half.
Elsewhere, Chelsea were lucky to force a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge with Eden Hazard converting an injury-time penalty after Shane Long and Stephane Sessegnon had allowed the Baggies to hit back following Samuel Eto'o's first-half opener.
Late goals from Leandro Baunca and Libor Kozak gave Aston Villa a 2-0 home win over Cardiff City, Norwich City came from behind to recoil from last weekend's heavy defeat to Manchester City by beating West Ham United 3-1, Newcastle United edged Tottenham 1-0 with Tim Krul making 14 saves for the victors, Sunderland managed to beat City 1-0 at the Stadium of Light, Crystal Palace and Everton played out a 0-0 draw and Swansea City were denied maximum points as Stoke City were awarded a very late penalty in their 3-3 draw at the Liberty Stadium.
2013/14 Barclays Premier League season scores
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