Despite defeat, Liverpool still appear to hold edge in title race

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At the other end Virgil van Dijk was again justifying his tag as the world's most expensive defender to keep City's array of attacking talent quiet with the Dutchman standing tall to block David Silva's effort.

On Thursday, Guardiola's side forced Liverpool's first defeat of the season, with a 2-1 victory that cut the gap between the Reds and Manchester City to four points.

Liverpool's lead at the top of the table was cut to four points at the Etihad Stadium as Leroy Sane netted the victor in a pulsating 2-1 affair.

"We went toe-to-toe with a very physical and aggressive team and we matched them for everything, if not more".

"Sometimes it's just a little bit: the cross was not good enough or the last pass, that happens", Klopp explained.

"And the opponent is City and they are used to it much longer than we are".

It was an unlucky night for the Reds, who could have taken the lead in the first half after Sadio Mane's shot to hit the post and the ensuing ball was cleared off the line. "It was that or let him go through on goal". "He is so important for us".

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With the game nearly a must-win for City in some quarters, the Reds hold all the advantage going in to the tie. Liverpool are unbeaten, and would have to lose three matches before the end of the season - no chance.

"We need Sergio in this kind of game".

Speaking from experience, Merson, who won two First Division titles with Arsenal during his career, told Sky Sports: "The quicker they go out of these competitions, the more of an unbelievable chance they have to win the Premier League".

"We have to fight a lot, but this win gives us a lot of confidence".

Liverpool pushed for an equaliser after the break and it eventually came just after the hour-mark, with Roberto Firmino heading home from close-range after outstanding play from full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson in the build-up.

"We knew it was going to be a very tough season and there will be ups and downs and Thursday was obviously a down", said the Netherlands global.

Their loss had nothing to do with nerves, or any lack of effort or ability, and it is not as if City won by dismantling Liverpool or exposing any flaws in their team.

"I would have paid money for it you can not believe", Klopp said. "When we win or we lose, we will not look back".