Pep Guardiola said his side showed why they were Premier League champions despite losing 3-1 to Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool took a huge step towards a first top-flight title in 30 years by opening an eight-point lead at the top of the table.
Goals from Fabinho and Mohamed Salah gave the European champions a dream start before Sadio Mane’s diving header early in the second half sealed City’s fate.
Bernardo Silva pulled a late goal back but a third defeat in eight league games leaves City down in fourth, nine points behind Liverpool, and with a mountain to climb if they are to claim a third straight league title.
“What happened today we showed why are champion,” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“I am so proud of my team, more than ever. We can be proud of how we played against the strongest team in Europe.”
“We played like back-to-back champions,” he added. “We cannot deny how good Liverpool are but the way we played, the personality, it was good.”