Roberto Mancini believes his Manchester City side will go up against potential Premier League title rivals in Liverpool when they travel to Anfield this weekend.
Mancini is expecting the champions to be given a stern challenge on Merseyside despite the Reds' unimpressive start to the campaign.
Liverpool crashed to a 3-0 defeat in their Premier League opener at West Brom last weekend, a result which underlined the difficulties facing their new manager Brendan Rodgers.
But Mancini, remembering last year's draw at Anfield as well as a League Cup semi-final defeat to the Reds, believes they will soon recover.
The Italian said: "I think Liverpool will fight for the title this year because they play well, they bought good players, they have a good manager and they have changed their style of play.
"Every game you play at Anfield is really tough.
"They come from a game against West Bromwich where they didn't deserve to lose but football is strange. For this I think it will be a hard game."
City were made to come from behind for their opening win against Southampton while chief rivals Manchester United were beaten at Everton.
And with Liverpool having changed manager, Mancini does not believe much should be read into their result at The Hawthorns.
He said: "They can have a problem in the first month like all teams when they change the manager or some players, but I think they have a strong team for the title.
"When Liverpool play at home it is always difficult for the opponents."