The first defeat of the season stings. But Manchester City were an extremely difficult opponent. They were at home, in good form, and intent on imposing themselves upon Liverpool’s attacking style. City’s press was on from the start and Liverpool were uncharacteristically rattled in possession and the match began to ping pong with sliced clearances and aimless headers.
Both teams had chances and both teams made the other pay for defensive errors but in the end, of course, it was Pep Guardiola who left the Etihad the happier manager.
City’s win allowed them to close the gap on Liverpool’s Premier League lead but post-match Andy Robertson was adamant that the Reds could still make good use of being four-points clear at the top of the table.
“Credit goes to them,” said Robertson, “but we have to remember we are still four points clear.
”It doesn’t change anything. And it wouldn’t if we’d won. Of course if we’d won it would have been nice to be 10 points clear of them.
”But we couldn’t have won it (the title) here - and like I say, we have not lost it either.
“You saw their reaction at the end, they are obviously delighted - but they’ve not won the league either tonight.
”We’ll fight right to the death, we are four points clear and they’ve closed the gap. Now it’s about how we react. It’s a new experience for all of us - but we can use it to our advantage and look forward to the games ahead.”
Liverpool compete against Wolverhampton in the FA Cup on Monday before getting back to league business against Brighton & Hove Albion on January 12th.
Jürgen Klopp’s team have earned 54 points from 21 games with a goal differential to match Manchester City but there’s still another half of a season left to play. It was always a long-shot to go the distance undefeated but the team will use the hurt from this loss to City as a motivator.
“It’s disappointing - a first defeat of the season, but now we have to dust ourselves down,” Robertson said.
”Nothing has been won or lost so we move on - it’s all about how we bounce back. It’s something we’ve not experienced this season - a defeat.
”We need to move on and forget about it. Now we’ve got FA Cup and then a massive game away to Brighton.”