Pep Guardiola said he was "not a magician" when asked about Manchester City's title chances after his side were beaten 3-1 by Premier League leaders Liverpool.
The defeat was City's second in five top-flight matches and left the champions nine points behind Liverpool, who remain unbeaten after 12 games this season.
Fourth-placed City will entertain third-placed Chelsea in their first game back after the international break and Guardiola said he hoped his side would maintain the level of performance they showed at Anfield.
Asked whether Liverpool could be caught, Guardiola said: "I don't know, I am not a magician. I cannot know the future.
"Hopefully after the national team, people come back and then [we face] Chelsea at home.
"What happened today is we showed why we are the champions. In this stadium we played incredible.
"I am proud of my team more than ever against the strongest team in Europe. I am so proud. We played so good."
Guardiola was incensed on the sidelines as key decisions went against his side, with City's pleas for handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold waved away when they claimed for a penalty.
He refused to discuss the decisions after the game, and insisted - with tongue firmly in cheek - his thanks to officials while shaking hands at the final whistle were genuine.
To the suggestion of sarcasm, Guardiola replied: "No way, I congratulate them. And I didn't say anything here.
"It would not be so nice after a defeat to complain about the referees, so ask the referees. Ask the referees, please not me.
"Ask [referees chief] Mike Riley and the guys in the VAR and the other ones.
"I would like to talk about our performance. As an opponent, with the problems that we have, it was one of the best ways we played.
"We played in the way that is why we are back-to-back champions. We showed that many times.
"There are three teams in front that have more chances to be champions than us but we are going to try.
"In football, you can't always win in here in Anfield. I am so proud of my team."