No rift with Bellamy – Mancini

The Wales international rejoined Liverpool in August after being

told he did not feature in Mancini’s plans. Bellamy shone for the

club early in his City career but started to fall out of favour

after the appointment of Mancini in December 2009. He spent last

season on loan with Championship side Cardiff and later revealed

how he and Mancini had differed in their opinions of his best

training schedule. The 32-year-old has a long-standing knee problem

which requires careful management. Bellamy could now face his

former club as the Premier League leaders travel to Anfield on

Sunday and he appears in good form after impressing in last week’s

win over Chelsea. Mancini said: “I am not surprised, Bellamy is a

good player. “I am happy for him because he played very well. He is

in good form. “He was fit often but because we had three or four

strikers it was difficult for him.” City have a poor recent record

at Anfield having not won in their last eight visits. Mancini

considers the 3-0 defeat there last April, when Andy Carroll struck

twice, as one of the worst performances of his reign. The Italian

said: “It was poor, but it was one week before the FA Cup

semi-final. “We changed three or four players but Liverpool

deserved to beat us.” This time City travel as impressive leaders

of the Premier League having won 11 of their 12 matches, although

they will be keen to recover from this week’s Champions League

setback. City were beaten 2-1 at Napoli on Tuesday to leave their

chances of reaching the knockout stage out of their hands. Mancini

said: “We have started the Premier League very well but we know it

will be a difficult game. “The season will be very long. Every two

or three games can change the situation. “I hope we continue to win

and continue to score. “I am satisfied but I don’t think we can win

all the games. “Everyone thinks we can win all the games but this

is difficult.” Striker Mario Balotelli is fit having recovered from

the fever which made him sick during the game in Naples. City have

no other injury concerns for a game which falls on Mancini’s 47th

birthday. “I hope my players can give me a gift,” he said.