Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola was full of congratulations post-match for thwarters Liverpool, as Jürgen Klopp's men brought City's unbeaten Premier League record to an end with their 4-3 victory.
Have to give credit to the opponent
The Citizens headed to Merseyside looking to further increase their lead at the top of the table with closest rivals Manchester United not in action until Monday night, but knew their trip to Anfield could arguably be the most challenging clash left considering Liverpool's devastating form.
Klopp's troops came flying out of the traps with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opening the scoring nine minutes in before Leroy Sané levelled things up, however a blazing nine minute period from the home side saw them take a seemingly uncatchable 4-1 lead with goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah.
City looked to create late drama with goals Bernardo Silva and İlkay Gündoğan taking it right to the death but not enough to see them defeated for the first time since last April, and Guardiola showed graciousness in rare defeat post-match.
"Congratulations to Liverpool," Guardiola told his post-match press conference. "I have to give credit to the opponent."
“We tried to play, but made mistakes and sometimes that happens - but always I give credit to the opponent," he told the gathered press. “We have in many positions a young team."
“We played good until the goal from Firmino and after that we lost a little bit of our control," the Catalan admitted. "We were involved in the environment of Anfield for many, many reasons."
"We know how difficult Anfield is and how aggressive Jurgen Klopp's side are," Guardiola added. "We tried to make good build-up and found the spaces sometimes, but credit to Liverpool."
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Need to be focused on the next one
Defeat will have not come as much of a surprise to Guardiola who has constantly insisted that his side would eventually lose their excellent record, and despite defeat they still hold a very comfortable 15-point lead over United ahead of Monday's clash with Stoke City.
City will look to dust themselves off and couldn't have asked for a better clash to get back on track with the struggling Newcastle United coming to The Etihad Stadium next Saturday, and Guardiola insisted that his need to be "focused" on the next game rather than wallowing in defeat.
"When every press conference in the last month said the Premier League is done," he said. "I always said, 'No it's not already done', because there are still a lot of difficult games to play."
"You have to be focused on the next one and the next one," the coach reiterated. "We did that until now, and in the end we were not able to win."
"We are going to defend our position game by game," Guardiola concluded. "The reality is that we lost the game, and now we have one week to recover and prepare for Newcastle."