Football: Champions Manchester City lurk behind English Premier League leaders Liverpool with victory over Newcastle

Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne has inspired a late comeback 3-2 victory for his side at Newcastle United in his first English Premier League action since the opening day of the season.

The Belgian midfielder has been missing since August, with a hamstring injury, but came off the bench in the 69th minute, with City trailing 2-1, to spark a remarkable turnaround.

De Bruyne equalised with a trademark silky finish five minutes after replacing Bernardo Silva and played the perfect pass in stoppage time for fellow substitute Oscar Bobb to secure the three points with his first Premier League goal.

Manchester City celebrate victory over Newcastle United.
Manchester City celebrate victory over Newcastle United. Photo credit: Getty Images

City's players celebrated loudly at the final whistle, as the victory took them up to second place, two points behind Liverpool, with both sides playing 20 games.

Manager Pep Guardiola boasts an embarrassment of riches in City's squad, but De Bruyne, 32, proved yet again that he is simply irreplaceable and his return could not have come at a better time.

"I missed this," said De Bruyne, who took Rodri's pass and threaded an inch-perfect shot past Dubravka for City's leveller. "I had a big injury and I needed the time, I enjoyed myself.

"I think it was more willpower than anything else. It was crazy, I know I'm not able to do that for 90 minutes at the moment.

"I can put in a shift for 30 minutes at the moment. I feel it in my lungs, especially with the cold."

Bernardo Silva gave City a 26th-minute lead with a sublime back-heeled finish from Kyle Walker's low cross, but Guardiola's side were soon rocked back on their heels.

Alexander Isak curled in an equaliser in the 35th minute and Anthony Gordon sent the home fans wild with another high-quality finish past City keeper Stefan Ortega, who replaced the injured Ederson in the fifth minute.

City missed a series of chances in the second half, as Newcastle edged towards a morale-boosting victory, but the mercurial De Bruyne's arrival made all the difference.

They have 43 points to Liverpool's 45, while Newcastle's fourth successive defeat left them in 10th spot.

With City about to enjoy a two-week break, Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland could also be back from a foot injury by the time they play in the league again in another boost to their prospects of a fourth successive title.

Super footwork

Bobb, 20, showed City may have another Norwegian diamond in their ranks.

He displayed superb footwork to control De Bruyne's flighted pass and skip inside to beat Martin Dubravka for the winner.

"I said thank you to him after," said Bobb of De Bruyne's impact. "He's the only one in the world who could do that."

Oscar Bobb scores the winner for Manchester City.
Oscar Bobb scores the winner for Manchester City. Photo credit: Getty Images

Struggling Newcastle had an early goal by Sean Longstaff ruled out for offside and were furious after City's opener, claiming Gordon had been baulked by Ruben Dias at the other end of the pitch, as he tried to sprint down the wing.

Their anger fuelled a stunning response, with Isak latching on to Bruno Guimaraes's first-time pass and bending a shot past Ortega. City's high defensive line was exposed again, when Gordon exacted revenge for his perceived injustice, turning Walker with ease and beating Ortega with a pinpoint finish.

Had Isak buried another chance soon after, the outcome might have been different, but Newcastle's season is now crumbling in alarming fashion.

"Their quality told in the end," said Newcastle manager Eddie Howe. "De Bruyne is obviously a world-class player."