Pep Guardiola said he “does not know” if his Manchester City side can overcome a nine-point deficit and catch leaders Liverpool in the Premier League title race.
City are aiming to become the first side since Manchester United in 2009 to win three consecutive titles but now sit fourth in the Premier League.
“I am not a magician; I don’t know the future,” Guardiola said.
“We have Chelsea at home next. We will try to beat them.”
City are now in a not dissimilar position to last term, when the Reds opened up a 10-point lead over Guardiola’s side after 20 games, although at that stage Liverpool had played one match more.
However, City then went on a remarkable run, dropping just three points in their remaining 18 games, which included a victory over the Reds at Etihad Stadium.
The pivotal moment in that game came via a dramatic goalline clearance by John Stones.
But City were on the wrong side of a match-defining moment on this occasion when they were convinced they should have been awarded a penalty for a Trent Alexander-Arnold handball moments before Fabinho struck the opening goal.
Guardiola appeared visibly upset by the decision to allow the goal, suggesting any questions about it should be put to Mike Riley, general manager of Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the body responsible for referees in English professional football.
The City manager offered no comment on the incident beyond saying: “Ask Mike Riley and his people please.”
He added: “Congratulations to Liverpool, they scored three, we got one but I’m so proud of my team, few teams can come here and play the way we did.
“We started incredibly well, we showed incredible bravery, they are the champions of Europe and it is the most difficult stadium in the world. We played like back-to-back champions.
“We cannot deny how good Liverpool are but the way we played, the personality, it was good.”