After Liverpool’s spirited showing at the Etihad last weekend, many believe that Jurgen Klopp’s men can be considered title contenders.
Indeed, the Reds are the only club besides Manchester City to win the Premier League since the 2017/18 season.
Within the squad, there are players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, and Mohamed Salah – players who know what it takes to win the league against City.
One man who could have a say in City’s final position in the table is Kevin De Bruyne.
Capable of deciding matches on his own, the Belgian has not featured for the Cityzens since the opening game of the season.
He suffered a hamstring problem against Burnley and has been in recovery since – although City have still made a strong start to the season without him.
“If he said January, it will be January,” said Guardiola via the Echo
“I would have loved to have him all season but now he has had a tough injury and surgery and he said the end of December or New Year, so it will be a Happy New Year for everyone.”
Guardiola refuted the notion that the 32-year-old veteran may gain anything from the break and said that it will be crucial to watch his return because of his advanced age, saying:
“I think he would have preferred to be with us but, in football (terms), he is a lot of years already. He is not 21 anymore.”
“Time runs and he unfortunately he had this injury.”
“He has to recover and make a step back again; recover well, prepare well and we’re not expecting after one week to be perfect,” said Guardiola.
“Step by step, to have him from the beginning, or off the bench, he is always a good weapon.
“I don’t need to discover the quality of Kevin.”
The man himself was quizzed on his injury while attending the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend, saying:
“It’s going well, getting along. Still got a little way to go, but we’ll be there.”
“Hopefully [I can return to action] something close after the New Year, if everything goes well.”