Former Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott insists his old club are still in the title race.
Champions City suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Newcastle on Tuesday night despite going ahead after only 25 seconds.
But Liverpool let them off the hook 24 hours later when they could only draw 1-1 at home to Leicester, meaning the gap from first to second is now five points.
City have already lost four matches this season, double the defeats they suffered last term, while Liverpool have still only been beaten just once.
Nevertheless Lescott, speaking at the launch of Goals’ “Accept No Substitutes” campaign at Goals, Manchester, said: “They are definitely still in it. I think it’s Liverpool’s to lose but it’s still very much in the balance.
“But you are asking a team that’s lost just one game all season to drop that many points between now and the end of the season, so it’s going to be difficult.
“And if results keep going well for them the confidence will grow and it becomes harder for the opposition.”
Lescott won the Premier League twice as a City player, in 2012 and 2014, so he knows only too well how difficult it is to retain the title.
“Having won a couple myself, and speaking to players who have won it multiple times, they say that it’s the hardest thing to do,” he added.
“The season when we didn’t win it, it’s then that you are more determined. And with Liverpool having never won it their determination will be heightened.
“Plus all the teams set up a certain way against City last season and it didn’t work, so now logically they are going to set up a different way.
“I wouldn’t have predicted the Newcastle result, especially if you’d told me they would score after 25 seconds.
“But I don’t think it’s complacency. I saw reports suggesting that, but they just seemed not to have the rhythm and fluidity they normally do. It just wasn’t happening.
“I just think the fact that Liverpool are doing so well has highlighted that when they haven’t played so well. There were times last season that City played like that and still got through games.
“But when someone is outperforming them in terms of results it highlights that. You can’t take any fixture for granted.”
:: Goals’ “Accept No Substitutes” campaign are helping 5-a-side players across the UK burn a collective 250million calories this January. For further information: www.goalsfootball.co.uk