Javier Mascherano has told Manchester City it will take longer than they think to become title challengers.
The Liverpool midfielder is set to come face-to-face with the ambitious Blues when Rafa Benitez's side make the short journey to Eastlands on Sunday.
With City now awash with riches following their takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group the club have been made their ambitions for the future quite clear.
Domestic and European dominance is within their sights, with results expected sooner rather than later.
However, Argentina international Mascherano believes City need to be more realistic in their aspirations.
"We know they have a good team and they are stronger than last season, obviously," he said.
"They have a good manager and are improving a little bit more than before.
"They are looking to be in the top four and if they have the chance to fight for the title they will go for it.
"But we know how difficult it is in the Premier League, so maybe they will need a little bit more time to fight for titles."
For the time being, though, Mascherano's main concern is helping Liverpool build on their impressive start in the Premier League title race.
Should the Reds want to take maximum points from their trip to Manchester then stopping Brazilian playmaker Robinho could be crucial.
Mascherano admits he has faced the tricky winger many times in the past and is well aware of the considerable talent possessed by his fellow South American.
"I have played against him many times. I know him and he is a fantastic player with a lot of quality," he added.
"But obviously the Premier League is the most difficult league, so maybe he will find it tough. Having said that, he has already played some good games here."