Manchester City’s drubbing of Liverpool this evening saw Kevin De Bruyne remind fans of exactly why he, despite having missed out on the title, should be viewed as the favourite to clinch the Premier League Player of the Year award.
Man City 4 – Liverpool 0
City run riot
After their title win was finally made official last week, the new Premier League champions visited the side whom they have replaced at the summit of English football a short time ago.
The main talking point ahead of kick-off of course surrounded the planned guard of honour, with Manchester City’s stars having stuck to their word to pay tribute to their Liverpool counterparts:
A ‘Guard of Honour’ for the newly crowned Premier League champions! 🔴🏆
Manchester City’s players applaud tonight’s opponents as they enter the pitch ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 2, 2020
When all was said and done at the Etihad, though, those without knowledge of the situation would have been forgiven for mistaking City as the side who had run away with the Premier League title, and Liverpool as the struggling runners-up.
An absolutely clinical first-half display on the part of the hosts eventually saw City emerge with a 4-0 victory.
After the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane had gone close at the other end, the Citizens took the lead shortly before the half-hour mark.
Joe Gomez’s clumsy challenge on Raheem Sterling in the visitors’ box was deemed as worthy of a penalty, with Kevin De Bruyne having stepped up to slot home the ensuing spot-kick in typically classy fashion.
And, just ten minutes later, it was 2.
A silky City move eventually saw the lively Phil Foden slip Raheem Sterling in on the left, with the former Liverpool man having again turned Joe Gomez inside out with a superb first touch, before finishing off the inside of the post.
Liverpool, in truth, looked as though they had not yet returned from their title celebrations, with City having cut through the champions’ defence with ease time and time again.
As such, it came as little surprise when, on the stroke of the interval, Jurgen Klopp’s men were punished once more.
The latest in a string of flowing City breaks ended with Kevin De Bruyne laying the ball around the corner to Phil Foden, with the Sky Blues’ gifted young midfielder having made no mistake with his lofted finish over the onrushing Alisson.
G Nev on Robertson: “He’s been playing like he has been out on the lash!”
Phil Foden’s third for Man City just before half-time has the hosts in firm control.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 2, 2020
Most no doubt assumed that things could not possibly get worse for Liverpool following the interval, with the Merseysiders having likely been desperate to restore some pride over the course of the 2nd 45.
This, in the end, however, did not prove the case.
The Manchester City onslaught only continued as proceedings wore on, eventually leading to the Sky Blues adding a 4th courtesy of the unfortunate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 66th-minute own goal.
The final half-hour saw the hosts continue to carve out the better of the opportunities, but, when all was said and done, Guardiola’s men were forced to make do with a 4-0 victory.
Dazzling De Bruyne
Understandably, based on both their performance and the scoreline, a number of Man City’s stars have been singled out for special praise this evening.
Raheem Sterling proved a thorn in the side of the Liverpool backline all night, with Phil Foden having only added to his glowing reputation with yet another superb display.
As outlined above, though, no player on either side even came close to the level of performance produced by Kevin De Bruyne.
The Belgian playmaker was in irresistible form throughout the 90 minutes in Manchester tonight, with his direct contribution to a pair of goals just the tip of the iceberg.
Only two players have provided 17+ assists in multiple Premier League seasons:
Playmaking wizardry. 🧙♂️ pic.twitter.com/vgkKFgSNKT
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 2, 2020
All told, from start to finish, De Bruyne’s showing came as one of the finest of the entire Premier League season.
The 29-year-old controlled every facet of the game, linking midfield to attack with his unrivalled combination of touch, vision, and ability to find his intended target time and time again.
Perhaps most impressive of all, though, is De Bruyne’s inate ability to always choose the right option.
While so many in the role of playmaker make their own job more difficult than it needs to be, City’s talisman simply does what is best for his side on 99 occasions out of 100.
This was a trait showcased on a whole host of occasions tonight, none more so than when De Bruyne slipped Raheem Sterling in with a gorgeously-weighted pass ahead of City’s 4th.
While Liverpool may be champions, and deservedly so, the race for the Player of the Year award should be considered as far from over.
The likes of Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane have been widely tipped to scoop the individual accolade, but, if nothing else, tonight’s matchup at the Etihad proved once again that not only should De Bruyne be in the running, but he should likely be considered as the favourite to be named the Premier League’s best for the 2019/20 season.
Kevin De Bruyne’s game by numbers vs. Liverpool:
5 chances created
4 shots (1 on target)
3 ball recoveries
2 big chances created
Masterful creative performance. 🎩 pic.twitter.com/NiYqVsiRrl
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 2, 2020
This article was edited by Benjamin Newman.
Manchester City betting odds, next game:
Man City vs Real Madrid odds: result, both teams to score, correct score & goalscorers
|Fernando Gabriel Jesus||15/8||15/8||10/11|
|Kevin de Bruyne||10/3||10/3||6/4|
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