City boss Pep Guardiola made three changes from the side that lost 3-2 to Crystal Palace on Saturday with Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne returning, but even they couldn't prevent a third defeat in four Premier League games. City had been 1-0 up but were eventually undone by Ricardo Pereira's long-range strike and their misery was sealed when Fabian Delph was sent off for an ugly challenge on the matchwinner. If you want to be real contenders you have to win again. Could this be the season when someone else actually wins it, and could it be Liverpool.
"When you play football for Man United you should be happy".
City, meanwhile, are playing an entirely different game now: catch-up rather than pace-setting, meaning they can not afford and surely will not take the same approach as at Anfield-timid, respectful, happy to settle for a point.
Guardiola added: "Good results make a miracle in the mind".
"One month ago people said about (the match against) Liverpool and before (then) we had three or four games. I never doubt them".
"Seven points to Liverpool is starting to be a lot, we are not in a good moment, but tomorrow is another day". "Today we finished the [first] leg of the season, we have an incredible amount of points. Mentally we are lacking confidence in that situation", Guardiola told the BBC.
Despite the man advantage Manchester City’s poor positioning and lack of pressure lead to Albrighton’s goal. Screen capture courtesy of NBCSports
There are now two huge games coming up either side of the new year, and before the FA Cup third round.
Jürgen Klopp struck a similar note, noting his team's six-point lead over Spurs could be whittled down quickly. "That is pretty much what we wanted to do from the start - create a basis for the rest of the season".
The unbeaten run at Anfield in the Premier League now stretches to 30 matches; only five times in the club's entire history have the team previously achieved that, while the points tally had already been a record-setter before the Newcastle game. They are good statistics.
"We play Arsenal and City [next]".
The problems are mounting up for Guardiola as Liverpool extended their lead at the top to leave City ruing a week either side of Christmas that threatens to see the trophy prised from their grasp.