De Bruyne expects ‘the best Liverpool possible’ for City’s visit to Anfield

Kevin De Bruyne believes Liverpool will be at their best for Manchester City’s visit on Sunday despite their disappointing start. Liverpool are 10th, 13 points behind City, with a game in hand.

De Bruyne was asked whether he was surprised Jürgen Klopp’s team are struggling. “I expect them to be the best Liverpool possible,” he said. “I don’t look at it that way – obviously they lost some points but they are still Liverpool and I expect them to be good; that’s the only way I see it.”

City are unbeaten at Anfield in two seasons – drawing last term and winning there the campaign before – though in April they were held at the Etihad Stadium and lost the sides’ FA Cup semi-final. “The last few years we’ve done well, even last year if we didn’t win, so I think it’s probably going to be a good game again,” De Bruyne said.

“Maybe we have more control of the game. They are more of an up-and-down team and we are a team who has more control of the game, so if you can control that style of play then maybe you have more of a chance. Last year I thought we played great but we didn’t win any of the games so sometimes it goes that way … Obviously it’s hard playing away at a top-six team always.”

Nathan Aké agreed. “I have always got the feeling that at one point they can just bounce back because they have a quality manager and all the players are quality,” the defender said. “They have shown that over the years. I think they can deal with setbacks and I expect them to come back. Obviously it will be a tough place to go. It is never easy to go there so we have to make sure we are in a good place.”

City’s goalless draw at Copenhagen on Tuesday secured qualification for the Champions League knockout phase after four games. Erling Haaland was rested by Pep Guardiola because of tiredness. Aké was asked how vital it is that the centre‑forward is available to face Liverpool.

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