Mancini ready for big month

PA Sport

Roberto Mancini expects Liverpool to present a formidable obstacle as his Manchester City side aim to put their European frustrations behind them.

City have so far been unable to transfer their domestic dominance onto the continental stage with their Champions League prospects now receding after a shattering loss at Napoli earlier this week. Mancini's men were beaten 2-1 by the Italians and their hopes of progressing beyond the group stage are out of their hands.

They can put that aside at Liverpool on Sunday as they return to Barclays Premier League action, and Mancini said: "The game tomorrow will be different. After Munich we played Blackburn. That game was difficult but I think tomorrow will be more difficult. Liverpool are a strong team. I think Champions League and Barclays Premier League are different situations."

He added: "Now we have lost against Napoli, maybe we have less chance to go through. But in the Premier League we are on top and we want to continue to do well."

City have a poor recent record at Anfield having not won in their last eight visits.

Last season Andy Carroll scored twice as they were trounced 3-0 but City, who have won 11 of their opening 12 league games this season, are now a much tougher proposition.

Mancini said: "I think we are better as a team this year.

"Last year, one week later, we played an FA Cup semi-final and that was important.

"We played without three or four important players. But sometimes the other team can play better and Liverpool played very well.

"I think this year we have improved a lot as a team. We have played very well and we have scored goals."

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