Kenny Dalglish knows all too well what Liverpool is missing. The Reds manager admits his players' lack of ruthlessness in front of goal and lapses in concentration cost Liverpool a chance to gain ground on its Premier League rivals, according to the BBC.
"I'm not so sure the scoreline reflects the way the game went," Dalglish said. "I'm not saying we deserved to win, but I think the lesson we've learnt from tonight is that if we're not clinical we're going to suffer.
"There are a lot of things that happened tonight that we can correct ourselves, so we need to go and do that. It's a harsh lesson, but it'll be even harsher if we don't learn from it."
Stewart Downing had a golden opportunity to put the Reds in front in the eighth minute, but the winger's shot was saved by City goalkeeper Joe Hart. The shot lacked the power and placement to beat the onrushing England international. The missing authority on the finish was indicative of a player still searching for his first LFC goal after 20 games.
Scoring at that point would likely have made for a markedly different game. Liverpool was the livelier and more assertive team in the first ten minutes. It was controlling possession, and much of the game was played in City's half at that point.
LFC also had the advantage of two more days rest than City. Its last game was Friday's win over Newcastle, while City's was Sunday's loss at Sunderland. An early goal would have forced the hosts to be more adventurous going forward, leaving them open to LFC's counter-attacks. City's players would likely have physically exerted themselves while chasing the game. Instead, It was able to defend deep, conserve energy and capitalize on Liverpool's errors.
City took the lead just two minutes later. Dalglish described the sequence of events that lead to City's three goals as an example of the Premier League leader's cutting edge in the final third.
"We had a good opportunity to open the scoring, but then we lost the first goal when we'd had possession with a throw in," he said. "The second goal was from a corner and we had a warning just seconds before it. The third was when they were down to 10 men, Toure ran the length of the pitch and we gave away a penalty kick."
The veteran manager is all too aware that LFC can get away with wasting scoring chances and losing focus when facing weaker opposition. He knows even better that top teams will punish the Reds for those same errors, as City did in its 3-0 win over his team.
Review all the action from Tuesday's game in our Liverpool Live blog.