Two goals from Shayne Lavery was enough for Linfield to claim the points at Windsor Park, despite Jeff Hughes reducing the arrears in the dying stages.
The home side went into the contest three points ahead of Tiernan Lynch’s men and a cagey opening period reflected two well matched sides.
It was Larne who had the first opportunity of the night, 12 minutes in, when Lee Lynch released Dylan Mottley-Henry inside the box which left the winger one-on-one with Chris Johns, but the shot was too close to the goalkeeper.
Linfield’s first chance arrived at the midway point of the first half, when Conor Devlin punched Kirk Millar’s powerful effort clear, with Fuad Sule clearing the danger.
The opening goal came with 28 minutes on the clock when Dean Jarvis brought down Lavery inside the box. The under-21 international stepped up to send Devlin the wrong way, from the resulting penalty.
Mottley-Henry came within an inch of poking the home the equaliser from a Jarvis cross on 40 minutes, as Larne finished the half brightly.
At the other end Joel Cooper saw his penalty appeal waved away as one goal separated the sides at the break.
In the second half, the Invermen were unable to impose themselves on the match as much as they would have liked and it was Linfield who struck what looked the decisive goal with 18 minutes left to play.
Lavery was alive in the box when the ball broke to him and he steered the ball past Devlin from 12 yards.
Larne, to their credit, continued to push and Conor McKendry’s disguised pass slipped Jeff Hughes in and his powerful shot made it’s way through the legs of Johns and into the goal on 89 minutes.
Despite an injury time rally, the home side held on to move six points clear at the top.
Larne: Devlin, Watson, Robinson, Sule, Hale, McDaid, Lynch, Mottley-Henry, Cosgrove, Hughes, Jarvis
Subs C. Mitchell (not used), Kelly (not used), Randall (replaced Mottley-Henry 57), A. Mitchell (not used), McKendry (replaced Hale 77), Wade Slater (not used), McMurray (replaced McDaid 67)