Pep Guardiola says Liverpool can help Manchester City's title tilt.
City lie at the Premier League summit, two points ahead of Jurgen Klopp's side.
And Guardiola believes the situation is similar to when he was in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid were closing in.
"To maintain that level… we did 99 points with someone else pushing us," he said. "We knew that if we dropped points Madrid were going to win the title."
He added: "It's similar with (Rafa) Nadal, (Roger) Federer and (Novak) Djokovic, no? They push one to be better than the other one because they know.
"We need it in sport, as athletes. They (the City players) know. I didn't tell them, but they know how strong Liverpool are.
"They know that we can't drop points because if we do Liverpool are going to win the league. I can say Liverpool or Chelsea and Tottenham are the same in this moment. Arsenal as well.
"To compete we need good opponents close and this season we have it, here and in Europe."