Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admits the loss of their unbeaten Premier League record has provided a reality check.
The 4-3 loss against Liverpool ended a sequence of 30 matches without defeat stretching back to April.
Although it gives Manchester United a chance to cut their lead at the top to 12 points with victory over Stoke on Monday, City’s advantage is still a significant one and Guardiola is determined to keep their rivals at arm’s length.
“You need to live those situations to realise what we have done so far,” said the City boss after watching his side battle back from 4-1 down to set up a thrilling finale at Anfield with two late goals.
“Football is unpredictable. When you lose against a fantastic team you have to be sure to win the next one and fight until the end to win the Premier League.
“During the season you have to stay in the real world, especially in the league with a lot of games.
“After a tough two months in the past with four competitions it is difficult to maintain (an unbeaten record) and every time not lose.
“These kind of things must happen and now we must analyse and be positive, that is all we can do.
“I would have preferred to win. Losing is never good news but all the teams lose games so why cannot we lose games?
“What is important when you lose a game is not lose again. The most important is the next one. Newcastle is so so important.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp felt the result sent out an important message at the end of a week in which they sold playmaker Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142million.
“It’s not that I said in a meeting, ‘Boys, it would help a lot if you could win so nobody speaks about Phil Coutinho any more,” he said.
“We like speaking about him. He’ll still be jumping in his new living room in Barcelona, happy about the win.
“But it was important to show we can play without him and we did that. That’s a very important statement.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the hosts a ninth-minute lead only for Leroy Sane to equalise just before half-time.
However, three goals in nine minutes from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and
Mohamed Salah – each one special in its own way – saw the Reds race into a 4-1 lead midway through the second half.
Bernardo Silva, in the 84th minute, and Ilkay Gundogan, in added time, set up a frantic conclusion but despite their reputation for late goals City could not force one more to preserve their record.