Pep Guardiola was unable to confirm whether Kevin De Bruyne will be fit for Manchester City’s top of the table Premier League clash against Liverpool.
The first and second placed sides meet on Thursday evening in what is widely considered a must-win match for City.
The Etihad club would fall 10 points behind Liverpool should Jurgen Klopp’s side claim victory, while a defeat of the Reds would move City to within four points of top spot – and end Liverpool’s unbeaten run in the process.
However, City may have to come up against Liverpool without Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgium midfielder who is widely regarded as their best player, and one of the best in the Premier League.
He missed Sunday’s defeat of Southampton which saw City get back to winning ways after two successive losses, and Guardiola admitted after the match that he does not know if De Bruyne will be fit for Thursday night.
“I don’t know how De Bruyne is,” Guardiola said after Sunday match. “I know it’s not serious, but I don’t know if he can play on Thursday.”
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De Bruyne has suffered a couple of ligament injuries this season which have restricted him to just six Premier League appearances – only one of which has come from the start.
He managed his longest appearance of the campaign in the shock defeat at Leicester on Boxing Day – staying on the pitch for 70 of the 90 minutes – but did not play four days later.
Guardiola appeared to suggest De Bruyne has suffered a set-back in his recovery.
“It is not a big issue, but it is normal when you come back from injury that you have a little bit of problems,” he added.