Thursday, December 1, 2022

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De Bruyne expects the ‘best Liverpool possible’ in the Premier League clash.

Kevin De Bruyne expects Liverpool to be back at their best when Manchester City travel to Anfield on Sunday.

Liverpool have been City’s main title rivals in recent seasons but have gotten off to a slow start this season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have won just two of their eight Premier League games this season and sit 10th in the table, 13 points behind champions City.

“I expect them to be the best Liverpool possible,” said City playmaker De Bruyne. “Obviously they’ve lost some points but they’re still Liverpool and I expect them to be good, that’s the only way I see it.”

Until recently, City had a poor record at Anfield. Her 4-1 win there in February 2021 was only her second there since 1981, the other in 2003.

The sides played a vibrant 2-2 draw at Anfield last season. It was the same result in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium, with De Bruyne on target in both games.

De Bruyne said: “I like big games, I like good atmospheres. It’s a game like any other, but of course it’s always difficult to play away for a top six team.

“I think we’ve done well there in recent years, even last year when we didn’t win.

“They are more of an up and down team and we are a team that has more control over the game. So if you can control this style of play, you might have more chances.

“I think it’s probably going to be a good game again.”

De Bruyne struggled to make an impact as City, reduced to 10 men after Sergio Gomez was sent off, played a goalless draw at FC Copenhagen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The result was still enough for City to advance into the last 16 but manager Pep Guardiola, who rested Erling Haaland, later said some of his players were tired.

Despite being below average, De Bruyne insisted he was in good form.

“I’m not exhausted at all,” said the Belgian. “Of course it’s difficult, but I’m fine.

“Some people might have played more than I have and obviously it’s a bit more tiring and exhausting to play with 10 men – I don’t know how other people feel but I feel okay.”

Defender Nathan Ake, a late substitute at Parken, is confident the team will be fit and ready for the weekend.

The Dutchman said: “I think it was a very tough game, a lot of players ran a lot of kilometers but we have a bit of time before the next game and I’m sure when we get there everyone will be ready to play.

“Of course it will be a difficult place. It’s never easy to go there, so we have to make sure we’re in a good place.”

Liverpool defensive linchpin Virgil van Dijk has had a difficult start to the season but Ake expects his compatriot to bounce back.

He said: “He was so good for so many years. For me he’s still one of the best defenders in the world and he shows it again and again.”

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