Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed he dropped Riyad Maharez from the club's lineup over fears he would fail a drugs test.
The Algerian was away with the national team for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament but was in contention to be named in the day's lineup, only for the coach to opt against it.
It is however believed that the AFCON winner took summer medications to fight a sinus issue he has been suffering, and the club's medical team could not immediately pick out the ingredients of the medications and feared it might contain banned substances.
“Riyad called me straight after being champion and said he wants to be back against Liverpool," said Guardiola after the win over Liverpool.
“I said he was more than welcome. But Riyad took some medicine just a little bit, but we don't know what he took and therefore doping control today was a risk because the doctors did not know what was in the medicine.
“So that's why he did not play today. A guy who rested less, but could have played some minutes, but we could not take a risk because the doctors didn't have the medicines or exactly what happened and we did not want to risk it. Hopefully, at West Ham, he will be fine.”
City drew first blood in the new season by lifting the title, beating last season's challengers in a penalty shootout after playing to a 1-1 draw.