Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez insisted his team remain viable title contenders despite their 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.
Now six points behind leaders Chelsea, Liverpool have already lost more games – three – than they did in the whole of last season.
But Benitez said: “It is too early. It is a long race and we must keep going. We are playing good football and creating chances.
“We are doing the things that you need to do. But when you have chances, you must score with them.”
“It’s important to keep calm, to keep working and improving. We came up against a good team who have been doing well today, so we have to focus on the next game. But this year the top sides will lose points against the other teams. That’s good for the Premier League and for the competition but the mainthing is that it means you have to keep going.
“We can’t think about the three defeats. We have to try and improve and do better against Sunderland [on Saturday week].
“We lost only two matches last season but people were always telling me about the number of draws  we had. Now we’re winning more and losing a few more but maybe we’ll have more points in the end.
“It’s more difficult to convince the press [that we can still win the league] but I’ll try to convince my players: one game at a time, it’s the only way to improve. It’s a long race. Chelsea are very strong but we’ll try to stay as close as possible and see what happens in April and May.”
Benitez was critical of his players after their midweek defeat against Fiorentina in the Champions League but he detected an improvement against Chelsea, despite Javier Mascherano losing possession in the build up to the opening goal.
“The defence was much better. There were just one or two things (wrong) and we paid for them,” said Benitez.
“We played a good game against a good team but if you make mistakes against them, they will score. The game plan was good, but top-class players make the difference.
“He (Mascherano) was doing a good job. We needed fresh legs and he was doing well for us.
“If Fernando Torres’ header in the first half had gone in I think it could have been a totally different game.”
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who usually shows little emotion, was visibly elated after beating a side he regards as strong title challengers.
“We are happy because we won an important game against a strong team,” he said.
“For us, it was very important to win this game – an important signal.
“This championship is very long. There will be a lot of matches and we want to stay like we were today.”
Ancelotti paid tribute to forward Didier Drogba, who set up both goals.
“Didier can do everything. He can score and create chances, and he is doing an important job for us,” he said.
“We had good control of the game and had opportunities to score more goals.
“In the first half both teams maintained a good defence and the match was close, but the second half was different.”