Pep Guardiola does not expect Philippe Coutinho's big-money move to Barcelona to weaken Liverpool when they host his Manchester City on Sunday.
Liverpool are undefeated in their last 17 games across all competitions, while Premier League leaders City have won 20 and drawn the other two of their top-flight matches this season.
They do have a significant Anfield hoodoo to overcome, having last won at the famous Merseyside ground in May 2003, but the departure of influential playmaker Coutinho for £142million earlier this week might offer grounds for encouragement.
Not, however, in the eyes of Guardiola.
"There is no doubt about the quality of Coutinho," the former Camp Nou boss told reporters. "I think Barcelona have signed a top, top player who suits perfectly the way they want to play for the last 20 years.
"Saying that, Liverpool have resources. They can go to the market and Jurgen [Klopp] knows exactly what he has to do with his team. Liverpool remain a top, top team
"This season they played a lot of games without Coutinho for many circumstances – injuries and other reasons. Always they were a good and stable team.
"That is not going to change my opinion about Liverpool on Sunday."
Guardiola is looking forward to his latest showdown against Klopp, who he first faced during their respective spells in charge of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Even with Coutinho out of the picture, the Catalan knows the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino represent major threats to his side, who hold a 15-point advantage over Manchester United at the Premier League summit.
"I think that when our central defenders have the ball, Salah, Mane and Firmino are going to go to take this kind of ball," he said, before acknowledging the potential impact of Liverpool's freshly minted club record signing, with whom City were also linked.
"With [Virgil] Van Dijk now their build-up will be better," Guardiola explained.
"Of course, Jurgen Klopp is a master for the counter-attack. They are a team who, with three or four touches they arrive in the finishing area.
"When we lose the ball in dangerous positions we have to control Salah and Mane because they are so fast, so quick and so clever in the box.
"Maybe now they don't have the talent of Coutinho in the middle but [Georginio] Wijnaldum, Emre Can and [Adam] Lallana – these are guys who have energy and are strong. They are good on set pieces
"I think Liverpool play like Liverpool was in the past, in all their history. Their fans demand attacking football."
SQUAD! pic.twitter.com/9I0iZ083UK— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 12, 2018
Defeat at Anfield would still leave City as heavy favourites to collect a third Premier League title in seven seasons, but Guardiola had not started crunching numbers.
"I am not thinking about how many points left to be champion or how many games left to make a big crash," he added.
"I never spoke with the players, saying we need to win seven, eight or nine games to be champion or you have to drop so many games to not be champion.
"Liverpool, what they do, what we are and what we have to do to beat them - that is the point. Always we will be judged on the results.
"In sports everything can happen. Of course, we can lose the title because you never know what is going to happen in the next 13 or 14 games we have to play.
"It is simple like that. Just focus on the next one – that is the best advice I can give to my players."
|´Proud´ Messi recognises impact of team-mates after reaching 400 LaLiga goals|
|Henry v Vieira: The Arsene Wenger proteges to move into coaching|
|Federer enjoys ´cat and mouse´ win over Evans|
|Wozniacki cruises through in Melbourne|
|Federer maintains perfect Australian Open second-round record|
|Warriors set NBA record, Butler´s 76ers rout Timberwolves|
|´I like the fact we beat them´ - 76ers´ Butler revels in win over Timberwolves|
|Murray says he´ll ´probably´ have operation|
|Australian Open tribute for Andy Murray surprises brother Jamie|
|Warriors score NBA record 51 points in first quarter against Nuggets|
|Panthers owner Tepper doesn´t rule out Newton missing 2019 because of shoulder injury|
|De Ligt will be world´s best centre-back – Koeman|
|Ronaldo a ´perfect machine´, says Gattuso|
|Barcelona? I can´t say anything - Stuani|
|Silva upbeat about Man City title chances|
|Celtics youngsters say Irving´s callout ´came from a good place´|
|NFL playoffs: Patrick Mahomes v Tom Brady|
|NFL playoffs: Jared Goff v Drew Brees|
|Sixers sign Brewer to 10-day contract|
|Lozano and Morgan scoop CONCACAF awards|
|Lakers ´optimistic´ about LeBron injury|
|Giants produce mammoth fourth quarter against Nymburk|
|Austin FC to join MLS in 2021|
|Henry, Vieira look forward to reunion when Monaco host Nice|
|Barcelona reject Neymar phone call reports|
|Wentz is the quarterback ´going forward´, says Eagles coach Pederson|
|Gattuso: Higuain has not asked to leave|
|Drew Brees by the Opta numbers: 10 facts for QB´s milestone birthday|
|Harry Kane injury: England captain´s history of ankle woe|
|Harry Kane injury: Opta numbers suggest Spurs struggles|
|Harry Kane injury: Tottenham´s options in striker´s absence|
|Allegri: Supercoppa clash practice for Champions League knockouts|
|First in clean sheets, second to Schmeichel in titles – Cech´s Premier League career in Opta numbers|
|Warrington sign England star Widdop|
|Gatland confident Wales can win Six Nations|
|Fulham sign Netherlands international Babel|
|Harry Kane injury: Games the Tottenham striker will miss|
|Simeone focused on matches, not transfer dealings|
|Iran v Iraq: Pressure off for Queiroz & Katanec|
|Vietnam v Yemen: Kocian keeps the faith|
|Darren Bravo back in West Indies Test side for first time since 2016|
|Kane out until March with ankle injury|
|South Korea v China: Son arrives for Group C dead rubber|
|Kyrgyzstan v Philippines: Eriksson remains hopeful|
|McGrath to miss Six Nations, Sexton nearing fitness|
|Kohli savours Dhoni ´classic´|
|Ford: People obsess over Farrell fly-half battle|
|EFL asks Leeds to explain ´spygate´ scandal|
|No alarms for Djokovic and Zverev, Raonic masters Kyrgios|
|Australia 3 Syria 2: Rogic breaks hearts with stoppage-time winner|
|Palestine 0 Jordan 0: Socceroos winner keeps hopes alive for Lions of Canaan|
|Halep: The results don´t matter any more|
|Hard work for Halep as Serena and Osaka sail through|
|Napoli director to take legal action over ´false´ quotes about Rog move|
|Alexander-Arnold facing absence of up to four weeks|
|Solari: We only have one number nine at Real Madrid|
|Halfpenny & Young named in Wales´ Six Nations squad|
|Crawford v Khan confirmed for April 20|
|Centurion Kohli inspires India to level ODI series|
|Wagner hails Huddersfield togetherness after exit|
|Hughes to join Bristol, Le Roux also leaving Wasps|
|ICC appoints Sawhney as new CEO|
|Forest appoint club legend O´Neill as new manager|
|Halep digs deep to gain revenge over Kanepi|
|Cech to retire at the end of the season|
|Brisbane Roar 0 Melbourne Victory 5: Barbarouses treble sinks Roar|
|´Struggling´ Azarenka breaks down in tears following Australian Open exit|
|Dominant Djokovic coasts through in Melbourne|
|Allardyce admits Huddersfield appointment is ´highly unlikley´|
|Choupo-Mouting: Manchester United have changed|