Man City hit with major De Bruyne injury blow as hamstring severity confirmed

Manchester City have suffered a huge blow to their Premier League title pursuit, with Kevin De Bruyne facing four weeks out of action with a hamstring injury.

The Belgian playmaker was forced off with the knock during the controversial 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday night.

De Bruyne was assessed by City's medical staff on Thursday and it is understood the issue could keep him out for up to four weeks.

There is optimism at the Etihad that his likely absence will be between two and three weeks – but the club is not ruling out a longer spell on the sidelines.

It means the midfielder faces an anxious race to be fit for the mouthwatering showdown with title rivals Liverpool on February 7.

But that clash won't be a concern of Pep Guardiola's just yet, with City facing four fixtures – including this weekend's FA Cup fourth-round tie with Cheltenham Town – before they travel to Anfield.

City are keen not to rush De Bruyne's rehabilitation and risk losing him for longer, with Guardiola admitting on Wednesday that the injury could be a result of a packed schedule.

"Kevin put his hand on his leg, so I have the feeling it will be something muscular," the Spanish coach said.

"It is normal, these things happen with this amount of games."

Indeed, Guardiola's delight at their 2-0 win over Aston Villa was tempered by injuries to Kevin De Bruyne and defender Kyle Walker.

Belgian De Bruyne looked to have sustained a leg muscle injury and was replaced on the hour mark at the Etihad Stadium, while full back Kyle Walker went off in the first half after a collision with Villa's Jack Grealish.

"I haven't spoken to the doctor," Guardiola replied when asked about Walker's situation. "If Kyle asks to be out, it is because something happened. Hopefully it is just a kick."

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