There is not much in football that Pep Guardiola does not seek to control but the Premier League fixture list is beyond even him.
If the Manchester City manager could change one thing about Sunday's meeting with Liverpool, it would be that it would take place at home.
In Manchester, Guardiola would fancy his team's chances. A win and Liverpool's six-point lead at the top of the table would become three. Game on. At Anfield, it's different. City never win there, not under Guardiola, not under anyone in recent times. If Liverpool win, then six points become nine. Game over?
Pep Guardiola's Anfield woes make for a fascinating narrative ahead of Sunday's showdown
Jurgen Klopp has galvanised Liverpool and made them genuine title contenders to City
'I don't know if it will be over,' said Guardiola on Friday. 'It will be more difficult because last season they lost one game and this season they are unbeaten. So you have to imagine they are not going to lose too many games. But the season is long and a lot of games and situations can happen.'
Were Guardiola merely a football fan, or a manager working in a different country, Liverpool would be his kind of team and Anfield his kind of stadium.
As it is, that cauldron at the other end of the East Lancs Road has come to represent some kind of Room 101 to the game's greatest modern coach.
City have lost there three times in Guardiola's three seasons — twice in the league and once in Europe — while the relative satisfaction of last year's 0-0 draw was tempered by the fact the visitors missed a penalty right at the death.
So when Guardiola said that he needs a strong Liverpool to drive his own team to even higher levels after back-to-back title wins, one also senses that deep down the Catalan rather just wishes that Jurgen Klopp and his players would simply go away.
'They're an exceptional team and the stadium is an influence of course,' he said.
'The history speaks for itself. Of course it's something special, but I think it's more about the quality of the team and what they do, the quality of the players and the manager that they have. I believe more in that.
'Right now it's one of the toughest ones. In fact right now I would say it's the toughest stadium in Europe to go to.'
Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty as City were unable to beat Liverpool at Anfield last season
Liverpool and City are rivals in a very real sense these days. From the moment City felt Liverpool staff deliberately broke the buzzer that signals the approach to kick-off in the away dressing room before a defeat back in 2015 to the violation of the City team bus two seasons ago, enmity has grown.
City feel Liverpool players are treated favourably in the Player of the Season voting — particularly the