Pep Guardiola has no plans to rest the ever-improving Raheem Sterling just yet as the forward prepares to come up against former club Liverpool.
Sterling has sometimes been utilised in a central role at the start of the 2020-21 season due to injuries to strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, though the latter is now fit again.
The England international has scored five goals in all competitions but has struggled in the past against Liverpool ever since his acrimonious departure from Anfield.
His wait for a league goal against them finally came to an end in a 4-0 triumph at the Etihad Stadium in July, though by then the Reds had already dethroned their opponents as Premier League champions.
Guardiola is full of praise for the 25-year-old's development during his reign but still feels there is even more to come, citing Sterling's attitude as the key to his progress with City.
"I think he's a better player than when I arrived and hopefully in four years' time, he will be better than he is right now," said Guardiola,
"I think he's an exceptional player. There will be a moment when he will take a rest, but at the moment he's such an important player for us.
"I've seen his mentality and desire and he's improved a lot since we arrived, but I wish in three, four of five years he will be a much, much better player than he is today."
Asked if Sterling's continued rise could see him become one of the best players in the world, Guardiola replied: "My advice to him would be don't think about this, there's no sense [in that].
"Just enjoy life, focus and the destiny will dictate who he is as a player, but he's one of the [most] fantastic players I've ever had in my career as a manager.
"It all depends on him of course, and his performance."
City have won their last three home league games against Liverpool by an aggregate score of 11-1. They have not four managed four on the spin against the Reds at home since back in March 1937.
Sterling will hope to take advantage of facing opponents who have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 10 visits to City's home ground, conceding 26 goals in total in that run.