Liverpool have the character to go on and win the Premier League despite seeing their lead at the top cut to just four points, according to ex-Reds defender Gary Gillespie.
Goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane proved enough for Manchester City to win 2-1 and inflict a first league defeat of the season on the Reds.
But Gillespie believes that Liverpool are rightly still favourites and has backed his former side to end their 29-year league title drought.
“I hope it ends, but there are a lot of games to go. They’re still favourites,” Gillespie told Ian Stone’s Comedy Breakfast (weekdays 6.30am-10.30am).
“They’re four points clear at the top of the table. Had they been given that at the start of the season most Liverpool fans, and certainly Jurgen Klopp, would have snapped your hand off.
“I think there is enough character within the squad and enough big characters on the field for that not to happen.”
Jurgen Klopp, who has been criticised by some fans for his midfield selections, witnessed his side blow the opportunity to move 10 points clear of the reigning champions with defeat at the Etihad.
Liverpool found it difficult to break down a tactically astute Manchester City site marshalled by the excellent Fernandinho, while Dejan Lovren endured a difficult night at the back.
However Gillespie, who was part of the last Liverpool squad to win a top flight league title in 1990, defended Klopp’s decision to leave Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri on the bench and believes the game was ultimately decided by the finest of margins.
🔴 Ex-Liverpool defender Gary Gillespie (@DizGillespie2) doesn't expect them to drop off after their defeat to Manchester City last night.— Love Sport Radio (@lovesportradio) January 4, 2019
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Several of the key moments went against the Reds who were 11 millimetres - thanks to John Stones' goal-line clearance - away from taking the lead in the first half after Sadio Mane had hit the post, and he has backed Liverpool to bounce back.
“But for a lick of paint on the post, the ball could have easily stayed out from Sane as it did with Mane, and sometimes that’s what these games are decided on,” Gillespie said.
“I don’t think Liverpool should be in any way ashamed of the performance of the personnel that they put out on the pitch.”
The 58-year-old also expects the title race to go to the wire and insists Liverpool have the togetherness not to wilt under the weight of expectation.
“It’s theirs to lose, to be honest. If they maintain the form that we’ve seen right throughout this time then it is going to be difficult for anybody to catch them,” Gillespie added.
“You are going to have your ups and downs, your peaks and troughs, your suspensions, your injuries throughout the season.
“That’s what league football is all about. Everybody gets carried away with like one result here, and one result there, it’s about a season over 38 games.”