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Saturday 15 December 2018

Leaders will recover from loss and prove unstoppable, says Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan and Manchester City suffered a rare defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
Ilkay Gundogan and Manchester City suffered a rare defeat at Liverpool on Sunday

Ilkay Gundogan is confident Manchester City will not only bounce back from their Liverpool loss - but prove near impossible to stop.

The runaway leaders were beaten for the first time in the Premier League this season, in their 23rd outing, as they slipped to a 4-3 loss at Anfield on Sunday.

Most of the damage was done in a whirlwind nine-minute spell in the second half in which City conceded three times.

Having gone into the game with a 15-point lead at the top of the table, City can afford the odd lapse in the second half of the campaign but midfielder Gundogan is adamant complacency will not creep in.

The German said: "It is in our own hands. There is a gap, quite a comfortable gap still, but there are still a lot of games to play.

"We need to learn now, especially from those 10 minutes when we were not fully there.

"I am quite sure that we will and then we are going to bounce back and find again, 100 per cent, our way. I am sure that it is then nearly impossible to stop us."

A compelling game ran away from City as Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah all pounced on defensive mistakes to strike in quick succession midway through the second half.

Mane also hit the post during that period as the Reds, with the force of an atmospheric Anfield behind them, ran riot.

Prior to that City had been threatening to get on top. Leroy Sane had cancelled out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's early strike and Nicolas Otamendi had headed against the bar.

Bernardo Silva and Gundogan did set up a frantic finish with late goals but Liverpool held on, albeit nervously as Sergio Aguero twice threatened to equalise.

"We had two situations with Sergio at the end but unfortunately that was not enough," said Gundogan.

"Our first defeat of the season - we need to accept that, even though it's not easy. But we will look forward and we will now focus on the next game. We have nearly one week to prepare for it. It continues and we won't stop."

Gundogan's thoughts echo those of manager Pep Guardiola, who had long maintained his side would not go through the season unbeaten. Indeed, the City boss had even said he was looking forward to seeing how his team would react in such a situation.

Gundogan said: "He always said the day would come where we lose a game. Obviously everyone is disappointed because we don't think we deserved it. It feels kind of weird but the day has come and it is something we need to accept."

City are next in action when Newcastle visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

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