Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has a "phobia" of Liverpool.
That's the theory of Reds legend John Aldridge, who claims Guardiola's fear was showcased during the Amazon Prime All or Nothing series following Manchester City.
City edged Liverpool in a thrilling Premier League title race last season but now trail their rivals by 22 points at the top of the table after a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham at the weekend.
After the game, Guardiola kept his players in the dressing room for a 45-minute inquest and was reportedly told to stop 'tinkering' with the side by senior players.
With the rampant Reds already on the cusp of wrapping up a first Premier League title, Aldridge has explained why he believes Guardiola's fear of their rivals has had a major impact on his side.
“I think Guardiola has always had a phobia about Liverpool since that fly-on-the-wall documentary about Man City came out, which showed clips of him saying he was worried about how to stop our front three and that Klopp was going to do what he did at Dortmund.
“This was the season when they got their 100-point title but we knocked them out of the Champions League easily, 5-1 on aggregate, and even though they held on to just about win the title last season by a point from us, you could see how much we had got under the skin when that clip emerged of them singing that distasteful song about Liverpool when they should have celebrating their own achievement of back-to-back league titles along with the two domestic cups they won.
“Winning the European Cup would salvage the season for Pep but that looks a long way off for them at present and I would certainly have no fears for Liverpool should we draw them in the latter stages and I don't think Jurgen Klopp and the players would either.
“City certainly seem to have a phobia about us though and I think it stems from the manager.”
City and Liverpool will face off at the Etihad Stadium on April 4, although by that stage the Premier League title could already be en route to Anfield.