Inter Milan coach Walter Mazzarri has warned his players to expect a real battle when they take on his home club Livorno at San Siro on Saturday.
The Nerazzurri go into the encounter on the back of last weekend's 3-0 triumph at Udinese, their first win in five games.
The result lifted the Nerazzurri to fourth in Serie A.
Livorno, meanwhile, halted a seven-match winless run in Sunday's 1-0 triumph over Atalanta to climb to 14th place.
The promoted side travels to Milan nowhere near full strength with midfielder Marco Biagianti sidelined with a muscular injury and defenders Andrea Coda and Leandro Rinaudo as well as midfielder Leandro Greco, all suspended.
``I'm pleased we were able to express good football at Udinese,'' Mazzarri said to www.inter.it.
``I hope we can hand the same performance but for a longer period against Livorno.
``But we cannot take Livorno lightly. I always tell my players that we should face every game as though it was a Champions League final.
``Despite Livorno having to do without several players, we cannot think this game will be easy, otherwise, we will be in for a surprise.''
Victory on Saturday could see Inter reduce their current gap with third place that guarantees the last Champions League qualifying spot by season's end.
Juve hold that spot and take on second-placed Napoli on Sunday, with both teams level on 28 points, six clear of Inter.
``We have to follow our path,'' Mazzarri said.
``The game against Livorno is important but we must focus on ourselves and not on what others do.''
Mazzarri admits he will have to put emotions to one side.
The Inter tactician launched his coaching career when he led Livorno to promotion to Italy's top flight in the 2003-04 campaign.
``I was born in the province of Livorno,'' Mazzarri said. ``My time at Livorno was special and I'm delighted the club is doing well.
``Livorno is a very important time of my past but now I'm the coach of Inter and I will do the best for my team.''
Inter will be without striker Mauro Icardi, who will be out of action for a month after undergoing a hernia operation this week. Rodrigo Palacio is set to lead Inter's attack.