Andy Robertson felt Manchester City could not handle Liverpool despite edging Monday's (AEST) Community Shield with a penalty shootout win at Wembley.
Claudio Bravo's save from Georginio Wijnaldum's spot-kick proved the difference as Premier League champions City netted all five of their attempts from 12 yards – Gabriel Jesus beating Brazil teammate Alisson to seal victory.
Raheem Sterling opened the scoring against his former club to give City a deserved early lead but Jurgen Klopp's side were transformed after the break, with Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah hitting crossbar and post respectively before substitute Joel Matip headed in a 77th-minute equaliser.
Bravo then saved from Naby Keita and Salah before the Egypt star was denied by a remarkable airborne clearance from City full-back Kyle Walker.
"It was just about belief again," Robertson said of the Reds' second-half improvement.
"It was about not thinking you're tired and things like that – breaking through that barrier and putting them under that pressure, which I didn't think we did in the first half.
"We did that in the second half and I don't really think they could deal with us. We were just trying to get the winner."
Walker's clearance evoked memories of John Stones' heroics in similar circumstances as City claimed a pivotal 2-1 win over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium last season – a result that weighed heavily in the final reckoning of a title race decided by a solitary point.
"It didn't quite fall to us. That's football and I said to Kyle Walker after, I still don't know how he's cleared that off the line," Scotland international Robertson said.
"He's an incredible player, an incredible athlete – that's why.
"We just couldn't get the ball over the line and, if we did, we'd have been quite comfortable, I think."
Liverpool have overseen a quiet transfer window, only bringing in teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott, but Robertson believes retaining the nucleus of the squad that amassed 97 top-flight points before running out European champions will be key.
The former Hull City man also does not expect City and Liverpool to dart away so far clear of the chasing pack this time around.
"Look, we believe we'll be there or thereabouts again. But I believe the teams that were further behind us last season will be closer," he added, with Liverpool set to open the Premier League season at home to newly promoted Norwich City on Saturday.
"I think it will be a lot more competitive but I believe we can compete in this league. We haven't lost anyone, the squad is still the same as it was last season.
"It’s just about us having the same mentality and the same way of playing and same application going into every single game. If it is then we'll see where we are in May."