MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 3, 2019: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp embraces Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne after the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kevin De Bruyne admits “Liverpool were better” as Man City relinquish title

Kevin De Bruyne claims Manchester City will not dwell on losing the Premier League in what could still be an “unbelievable season”.

City saw their two-year reign as champions come to an end on Thursday as defeat at Chelsea handed the crown to Liverpool for the first time in 30 years.

Yet last season’s treble winners, who also won a third successive Carabao Cup in March, can still finish the campaign with another clutch of trophies.

They travel to Newcastle for their delayed FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday and are well placed to reach the last eight of the Champions League – with a 2-1 first-leg lead over Real Madrid – when European competition resumes in August.

City playmaker De Bruyne said: “I think in comparison with a lot of other teams we are doing all right.

“We are still second, so that means after Liverpool we are the second-best team, and I think we have still got big chances in the FA Cup and Champions League.

“Imagine if we come out after winning these cups, it will be an unbelievable season. We have got a lot to play for and look forward to it. There is no time for us to get down.”

City clocked up a record 100 points in winning the title in 2018 and followed up with 98 this season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (R) challenges for a header with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This term they were unable to match those high standards and fell behind a relentless Liverpool side early on. The Reds secured the title with seven games remaining and City a distant 23 points behind after eight defeats.

De Bruyne, 28, said: “You are always disappointed when you don’t win, but I think we are honest enough to say Liverpool were better this year.

“I think we worked really hard, we played really well, but we weren’t good enough and that’s no problem for us to admit.

“If everything goes to plan for us then I think we still have 13 or 14 games (left), so we still have a lot to play for and a lot of objectives.”

Despite City’s failure to keep pace with Liverpool, De Bruyne has enjoyed a fine season on a personal level.

He leads the way with the most assists in the Premier League with 16, four more than Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, and he has made more through-balls than anyone else. He has also added 11 goals in City colours this term and is among the leading contenders for player of the year prizes.