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Mancini expects tough Liverpool trip

The Italian boss is anticipating an even contest at Anfield and says an early-season thrashing, like his side's 5-1 win over Spurs last season, is unlikely

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Roberto Mancini is expecting a tough test for Manchester City when it travels to face Liverpool on Sunday.

The Italian boss knows the size of the task ahead, whilst insisting that difficult games are becoming routine for his side at the beginning of a new campaign.

Last year City beat Tottenham 5-1 away in the third game of the season however Mancini does not believe a similar result will be seen.

"Two years ago the second game was Liverpool. It’s always tough game for us. Liverpool will be a very strong game," he told The Manchester Evening News. "The game against Tottenham I think can happen once every 10 years. I don’t know. We will try but it’s enough to win 1-0."

Carlos Tevez has enjoyed a fine start to the season, netting in the Community Shield and City's Premier League opener against Southampton and Mancini has hailed the Argentine's preseason preparations as vital to his good form.

"For Carlos it’s the first time in four, five years that he did a preseason," Mancini added. "It’s normal that if you work hard in preseason you can be in good form, like him."

The Italian also hailed his side's versatility after experimenting with a three-man defense in preseason while switching back to a four-man backline against Southampton.

Mancini also reserved praise for Jack Rodwell after his arrival from Everton.

"I think that we can play with different shapes," he added. "Against Southampton, we played like last year with Jack for Gareth or for Nigel. I wanted to see Jack for the first time with us. It was a good performance.

"It wasn't easy for him being the first game because he didn't know his team-mates very well. But I think he did very well."

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