Pep Guardiola explains reason behind Kevin De Bruyne bust-up during Liverpool draw

Pep Guardiola shed light on his bust-up with Kevin De Bruyne after the match (Image: beIN Sports)

Pep Guardiola has admitted that his angry exchange with Kevin De Bruyne on Sunday erupted because the Manchester City midfielder did not want to be substituted. De Bruyne missed the final half-hour of City’s tense 1-1 draw with Liverpool after Guardiola opted to make a bold tactical change.

De Bruyne made his feelings known to Guardiola after seeing his number held aloft on the Anfield touchline. The pair engaged in a prolonged, heated discussion in full view of the Anfield crowd, which later continued on the substitutes’ bench.

The high-stakes Premier League encounter was finely balanced by the time of the change, with John Stones’ opener – which was assisted by De Bruyne’s clever corner – cancelled out by Alexis Mac Allister’s penalty.

City saw out the final stages despite relentless Liverpool pressure throughout the second half, and they nearly stole all three points for themselves when Jeremy Doku rattled the post.

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Kevin De Bruyne vented his anger at Pep Guardiola after being subbed for Man City (Image: Getty)

After the full-time whistle, Guardiola told beIN Sports that substituting De Bruyne was purely tactical. And when asked whether the 32-year-old’s anger stemmed from a reluctance to come off, he said: “Yeah. I like it, I like it.”

In his post-match press conference, Guardiola added: “He’s happy now. I like it that he was upset. He has a chance next game to prove how wrong I was.” De Bruyne is normally one of the first players City turn to when in a difficult moment, owing to his huge influence at the business-end of the pitch.

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The midfield maestro has notched nine assists in his last nine matches across all competitions, including the corner routine which saw Stones poke home at Anfield. De Bruyne is likely to be back in action when City host Newcastle United in the FA Cup quarter-finals next weekend.

Ederson, on the other hand, may not be so lucky. The Sky Blues stopper injured himself in the process of giving away a reckless penalty, and Guardiola admitted after the 1-1 draw that ‘it does not look good’.

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City have a capable deputy in Stefan Ortega, and he could be required to anchor the reigning treble winners through a tense Premier League title race if Ederson’s knock proves to be a long-term issue.

Guardiola’s side are now third in the table and one point off the top with 10 games to play. On Liverpool’s second-half onslaught, the former Barcelona manager said: “To avoid [a game like that] we needed more control, more passes, and we could not do it.”