Jurgen Klopp pinpointed a mounting injury list as the explanation for Liverpool's sub-par performance in a 1-1 draw at West Ham on Monday that leaves the league leaders just three points clear of Manchester City.
Less than a week after missing the opportunity to go seven points clear of City with a 1-1 draw against Leicester, Liverpool again let a lead slip as Michail Antonio quickly cancelled out Sadio Mane's 22nd minute opener.
Victory over Everton on Wednesday will now take City to the top of the table, while Tottenham are just five points off the top in third.
Klopp was without the injured Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold meaning James Milner started in an unfamiliar role at right-back, while the German was forced to name an experimental midfield three of Fabinho, Naby Keita and Adam Lallana.
"Last night we trained and had to change three positions," said Klopp. "It's a fact, not an excuse."
Klopp also downplayed suggestions his players are bothered by pressure and weight of history.
"It's not about pressure, it's about enjoying the situation you are in," added Klopp. "We have 62 points, have lost one game in the whole season so far which is very positive. I think from your faces already you [the media] feel sorry for us. We are fine. Tonight was just a tough game."
Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini Pellegrini was angered that Liverpool's opener was allowed to stand despite Milner clearly being offside when he crossed for Mane.
"They have two clear chances, one that is one-and-a-half metres offside where they score a goal, and one in the last minute with [Divock] Origi in front of the linesman again one metre offside."