Pep Guardiola dismissed suggestions Liverpool had overdone the celebrations, but said next season will be “completely different” after his Manchester City side thrashed the newly-crowned champions 4-0 on Thursday.
City gave a reminder of their quality on what proved a sobering night for Liverpool, who were given a guard of honour by their hosts in their first match since securing the Premier League title last week.
Kevin De Bruyne began the rout with a penalty before further strikes from Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden and an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain own goal.
City boss Guardiola felt his side needed to be at their best to sharpen up for their continuing challenges in the FA Cup and Champions League.
Guardiola said: “I’m delighted. Congratulations to the team, we beat the champions with the quality they have.
“I saw in the guard of honour how incredibly focused they were, how they shouted. I saw their faces, that’s why they’re champions.
“They didn’t come here to celebrate. They’d drunk enough beers and they came here to compete.
“So the chances we created, to beat them 4-0, it was so important for preparing against Arsenal and Real Madrid.”
“The gap to Liverpool is 20 points. Two seasons ago it was 25 (with City top), now with 20 for them. That is reality. This result isn’t going to change that.
‘Next season will be completely different’
“We have to recover the consistency we had the previous season.
“Next season will be completely different. We all start with zero (points). We need to show, not just to Liverpool, but to ourselves.”
Guardiola added: “The results Liverpool have had, nobody could stop them.
“But what we have done over the last few years has been exceptional and that’s not going to change because we were beaten (to the title) by Liverpool.
“When one team has eight out of 10 trophies they play for, I don’t need one game to show we are still hungry.
“We made a mistake this season, we were not challengers as we were not consistent. What we achieved was unique.”