Liverpool: Manuel Pellegrini refused to accept Manchester City's hopes of Champions League qualification are now under threat after their lacklustre 3-0 loss at Liverpool.

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini. Pic/AFP
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini. Pic/AFP

City started the season as favourites for the Premier League title and a place in the top four was thought to be a formality.

However, they are currently in freefall and were comfortably second best on Wednesday as goals from Adam Lallana, James Milner and Roberto Firmino condemned them to a third straight league defeat.

City might be impressing in the Champions League and also beat Liverpool in the League Cup final on Sunday, but they are in real danger of falling away from the leading pack in the top-flight.

'Lack of preparation'
Pellegrini bemoaned the lack of preparation his side had for this contest following a long journey back from Ukraine after last Wednesday's Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev and then Sunday's Wembley final.

But the City boss did accept that a victory against Aston Villa on Saturday is now absolutely vital.

"I'm not thinking about the title or not thinking about qualifying for the Champions League, it's important to think about the next game," Pellegrini said.

"We need to win at home because we have lost our last three games in the Premier League so that is the most important thing."