Kyle Walker confessed that his Manchester City side have put themselves in a 'difficult' position as they aim to hunt down Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
Man City surprisingly lost to local rivals Manchester United 2-1 on Saturday, seeing them drop more points and lose their fourth league game of the season - as many as they lost in the entire of the last campaign.
Liverpool's comfortable 3-0 victory over Bournemouth earlier in the day means City are now 14 points behind the Reds and are closer to Newcastle in 11th than Liverpool in first.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Walker praised Man United's performance, while also admitting City's failures all over the pitch.
"Us as defenders need to hold our hands up,” he said. “We need to keep clean sheets and strikers maybe need to put more away.
“They had a game plan and it worked. They have quick players in quick areas and they are going to hurt you on the counter. Credit where credit is due, they stepped up today. Fair play."
The gap between City and Liverpool has never been bigger this season, and Walker acknowledged just how hard it will be to catch the rampant Reds.
“Can't fault the manager. He has won numerous trophies. I can't put my finger on it," said Walker.
"It is going to be difficult, Liverpool are on fire. They are getting wins and we are not. It is a big gap but we will fight until the end."
Liverpool led the Premier League table for large parts of last season, but the Citizens remained able to fight back and maintain their league crown.
However, with the gap now so large, and City having won only two of their last seven matches in all competitions, it could be an insurmountable challenge for Pep Guardiola's team.