Liverpool are challengers for the Premier League title, according to Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.
Mancini takes his City side to Anfield on Sunday to face a team who finished 37 points behind his Premier League champions last season and who lost at West Bromwich Albion last Saturday.
But the Italian believes that a change of manager on Merseyside, with Brendan Rodgers replacing Kenny Dalglish, and the quality in the squad means they could end Liverpool's 22-year wait for a 19th title.
He explained: "I think Liverpool will fight for the title this year because they bought good players, they have a good manager, they change their style of play."
Rodgers' reign got off to a slow start at The Hawthorns, but Mancini, whose side drew at Anfield in both the Premier League and the Carling Cup last season, is anticipating an awkward afternoon.
He said: "Every game we play at Anfield is really tough. For us it will be a difficult game. Also because they come from a game against West Bromwich where probably they didn't deserve to lose but football is strange."
City will be without last season's top scorer Sergio Aguero but Mancini is optimistic the Argentine will be fit to return after the international break.
The striker injured a knee in Sunday's 3-2 win over Southampton, prompting fears he would miss much of the season, but now his manager hopes he can return at Stoke on September 15.
He said: "Aguero is not so bad as we thought. I think maybe after international break he will be ready [in] three or four weeks.
"After two weeks he can start to train maybe. After four weeks he can play."