Manchester United manager David Moyes admitted Wayne Rooney would have made a difference to his side's performance after they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool.
The Merseyside outfit maintained their 100 per cent start to the campaign thanks to another match-winning goal from Daniel Sturridge as United failed to score in successive Premier League games for the first time since 2007.
And Moyes accepted Rooney's absence with a cut head - a problem that is likely to keep him out for three weeks - was a contributing factor.
"Wayne would have made a difference today," said Moyes.
"We maybe lacked something different at times.
"But we didn't have him because of the injury."
Rooney suffered a severe cut to the head following an accidental collision with Phil Jones in training on Saturday.
Without the England forward - who will now miss his country's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine - United failed to exert any significant pressure on Liverpool.
Robin van Persie cut a particularly frustrated figure as Moyes' inability to win at Anfield stretched to 13 games, 12 of which are a legacy of his time at Everton.
Yet the Scot remained remarkably upbeat afterwards.
"We played very well," he said.
"If you look at the games against Swansea, Chelsea and today, we have played well.
"We scored all our goals in the first game, but played well, and limited teams to very few opportunities."
Moyes now has one more day to strengthen his squad, with Everton duo Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines remaining the more likely targets after Athletic Bilbao coach Ernesto Valverde insisted he expected midfielder Anders Herrera to remain with the Primera Division outfit.
"I'm not thinking about speaking to him to convince him about anything and I'm not worried about anything else," said Valverde following his side's defeat at Real Madrid.
"I haven't spoken with the player but what I'm going to repeat is that I don't expect the club to make any moves in the transfer market tomorrow [Monday].
"I do not know what will happen. I want Ander to stay with us, and that is what I think, expect will happen."
For his part, Moyes remains optimistic executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who was at Anfield for today's defeat, can make the signings he wants.
"Maybe in the next how many hours we will get a chance, but I can't give you a heads up," said Moyes.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was in the far happier position of having Victor Moses (Chelsea), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain) and Tiago Ilori (Sporting) in the directors' box to watch the team they are expected to join on Monday.
And they will move to a club who have now completed their best start to a league campaign for almost two decades, with Sturridge making the stand-out contribution.
"I am delighted with his application," said Rodgers.
"He was nowhere near fit.
"He played full game and extra time in the week and he had a slight knock on his thigh.
"Even at 70 per cent he will be as good if not better than most Premier League strikers but you have to have that will and desire to put yourself out there.
"He can always be a threat."
For a club who boast such an impressive history but have not won the title since 1990, Liverpool know it will not take much for their fans to start dreaming of past glories.
And as Monday would have been Bill Shankly's 100th birthday, it seems an obvious thing to do on the back of three 1-0 Premier League wins.
However, Rodgers is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
"We have got 35 games to go so we won't be getting carried away," he said.
"The team has a lot to improve. We have got a lot of work to do ahead of us.
"The initial challenge is to get in the top four."