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Roberto Mancini predicts ‘tough test’ for stumbling Manchester City as champions travel to Liverpool

By Dean Wilkins

Roberto Mancini is expecting a ‘tough test’ as Manchester City travel to Liverpool in search of their second win of the season.

Despite playing Premier League new-boys Southampton on Sunday, Mancini’s men were forced into an archetypal fashion win after leaving it late to secure a 3-2 victory.

It was a far different performance from their first encounter last season where they won 4-0 against newly promoted Swansea, and the City manager is not expecting things to get easier as they travel to Anfield.

“We always play a tough match in the second game,” said Mancini – after City won 3-2 against Bolton last season. “Liverpool will be a very strong game.”

Liverpool held City to a 1-1 draw in last season’s repeat fixture, and also despatched them in the League Cup semi-finals.

But new manager Brendan Rodgers suffered a 3-0 defeat in his first Premier League match in charge of the Reds as West Brom dominated from the start.

But Mancini feels that both teams have a lot to prove and is desperate to improve rapidly from the Saints’ scare.

“We played a bad game, we were not a team,” he said.

“We were ten players that tried to score. We showed our character but we didn’t play as a team.

“This could be normal in the first game but if we want to win, we have to play as a team.”

Last season’s top scorer Sergio Aguero suffered a worrying knee injury early in the opening win but could return in time for the Stoke match in one month’s time.

And talisman playmaker Yaya Toure is confident City can deal with their main man upfront as Carlos Tevez’s looks to have returned in scintillating form.

He said: “The Premier league is not easy, it is going to be very tough this year.

“But I have full confidence in my teammates, we always fight and try to win games.”

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