But there was no mistaking the message Carlos Tevez had to digest.
The former Manchester United striker's demotion to the bench had been predicted, but the same could hardly be said of the explanation from manager Mark Hughes.
Super-sub: Tevez swung the match in favour of the visitors after coming off the bench
City's stellar signing of last summer owed everything to Tevez tiring of his limited involvement under Sir Alex Ferguson and believing he would be valued more highly at Eastlands.
He may think again after a development that illustrated how managing City these days comes with demands that never used to apply.
Hughes has his hands full trying to keep everyone happy, from owners who want a return on their investment to players who struggle with the concept of squad utilisation.
Six straight draws suggest the first part could be going better, while saluting Tevez's qualities as a substitute will do little for the second.
It wasn't what the 25-year-old had in mind when he moved, but he may have to get used to it after going on in the second half and sparking a revival that almost left Rafa Benitez having to explain a sixth Barclays Premier League defeat of the season.
'Carlos has had a bit of a problem with his knee, but not starting him was a tactical thing,' declared Hughes. 'You are not going to go gung-ho at Anfield because the likelihood is you will concede goals.
One to savior: Skrtel notched his first Liverpool goal shortly after half-time
'Once we went behind it was time to introduce him. It was always my intention to bring him on at some point, because of the impact he can have from the bench. He got us into a winning position which we didn't see through.
'He won't play every game, as a lot of others won't, because we have a good squad. It has been frustrating for him.'
What was supposed to be one of the most revealing fixtures of the season, in terms of top four places, demonstrated little other than both sides' shortcomings at the back.
Zonal marking: Adebayor was granted the freedom of the box to head home
Liverpool exploited a static City defence as Martin Skrtel deflected Steven Gerrard's 50th minute free-kick past Shay Given, only to be found wanting themselves as Emmanuel Adebayor rose to head a 69th-minute equaliser from Craig Bellamy's corner.
Inspiration: Benitez (left) and Hughes (right) were left frustrated by their team's performance
Stephen Ireland threatened another calamity for Liverpool, finishing off a slick City move in the 76th minute. Even a Yossi Benayoun leveller seconds later, capitalising on more slipshod defending, failed to put much of a gloss on a return of just one win from 10 games for Benitez's side.
They have now conceded more goals from set-pieces than any other Premier League side, although Benitez insisted: 'We are better than at the beginning of the season and have not conceded too many in the last few games but there is still room for improvement.
'When you have a player like Adebayor, who is good in the air, there is a danger you will concede like that. Thirty-five per cent of the goals in England are from set-pieces.
'I think the majority of players believe in this system. The understanding between defenders is vital for getting back to that level, but it is only a question of time.'
The sight of Skrtel and Pepe Reina in animated conversation over Adebayor's free header suggests the moment may be some way off, though there was harmony in the City camp as they rallied round Shay Given in the wake of his World Cup anguish in Paris.
Liverpool 2 Manchester City 2: Is that all you get for £400m?Champions League hopes rest on make or break Man City clash, admits RafaBenitez hoping the return of Gerrard can help to rescue European dreamALL THE LIVERPOOL FC