Kevin De Bruyne shows Liverpool why Man City will be hard to budge in title fight – David McDonnell

De Bruyne was in high spirits as Man City provided the perfect answer to Liverpool’s thrashing of Man Utd by beating a stubborn Brighton side to return to the top of the table

Pep Guardiola is clearly not a sentimentalist.

Kevin De Bruyne scored his 300th game for Manchester City last night but the milestone wasn’t enough for Guardiola to hand him the captain’s armband. That went to vice-captain Ilkay Gundogan, who takes over the armband when club captain Fernandinho, who leaves at the end of the season, does not play.

De Bruyne is third in the captain’s pecking order but the Belgium midfield playmaker needs neither an armband nor a title to underscore his enduring value for City. He remains City’s most influential player, the man his team-mates put the spark on to get them going, as was the case with Brighton, with Gary Potter’s side proving difficult to break.

With so many City players including Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez, De Bruyne took it upon himself to create the openings that would give the home side the breakthrough they needed. One such moment came in the 25th minute, when De Bruyne stormed down the middle from the half-line, trading passes with Phil Foden before edging a low shot just wide.

With that in mind, it came as no surprise that De Bruyne was the architect of City’s opening goal, which was greeted with a collective puff of cheeks from the increasingly anxious home fans. Largely out of sheer willpower, De Bruyne charged forward and stayed on his feet when he could easily have gone down to present the pass to Mahrez, from which he scored.

De Bruyne did it again for Bernardo Silva to capture City’s third goal, shoving the ball his way with an instinctive first pass. But it wasn’t just De Bruyne’s attacking prowess that impressed, but also his defensive streak, which eliminated opponents, regained the ball and almost single-handedly led City to a fourth title in five years.

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Fry Electronics Team

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