Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Guardiola confirms he wanted Mahrez to take penalty

Guardiola confirms he wanted Mahrez to take penalty

To respond is really important when the next opponent is Manchester City.

City's Riyad Mahrez blazed a penalty kick over the crossbar five minutes from time at Anfield on Sunday as Liverpool remained unbeaten at home in the league since April 2017. "Everyone misses penalties - even big, big, big players".

This was not the grand spectacle so many expected.

Jurgen Klopp's side now sit level on points with Man City at the top of the Premier League table.

It was reflected in the statistics which revealed no Premier League match this season had fewer shots in the first half - only three - level with Newcastle v Arsenal and Huddersfield against Cardiff.

He twice waved away penalty appeals from City, as well as overlooking some strong challenges from Pep Guardiola's side, before eventually awarding the visitors a spot-kick late on.

While City are not short of attacking talent, the repertoire of skill and technique available against Liverpool would be bolstered significantly if De Bruyne was passed fit to play. It led to Anfield being shrouded in a cloak of caution.

"It was a penalty and it shouldn't have happened, but I'm very happy we didn't concede". We controlled much better than in the past, and with the second balls, on which they are masters. Don't lose the ball in unsafe positions because when you lose the ball there they counterattack with [Roberto] Firmino, [Sadio] Mané and [Mohamed] Salah.

Guardiola is the purists' purist - the manager who will never sacrifice the principles forged at Barcelona and put into further practice at Bayern Munich and now Manchester City.

While analysing the game afterwards for Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher revealed that he spotted John Achterberg gesturing to Alisson to dive to the right when Mahrez was getting ready to take the penalty.

Both sides failed to lay down an early marker in the title race with a disappointing draw.

If Liverpool and City draw it could benefit Chelsea if they manage to defeat Southampton in Sunday's earlier game held on the south coast.

Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane weren't at their best once again, with there still questions lingering over their form after 11 games in all competitions this season.

"He had the courage and the balls to hit the penalty", Guardiola said.

"Up and down they are the best team in the world in these transitions, offensive, defensive, they are built for that". One situation and they are alone in front of your goalie, or alone in the box and they shoot and score an easy goal.

In many ways it was an uncharacteristic City performance but a controlled one which satisfied Guardiola.

Guardiola's men were also shackled.

"It's very tough, probably the toughest away game of the season in the Premier League", the Germany global told ESPN FC.

Reflecting on the match as a whole, Van Dijk continued: "Their defence did well".

"We know Aguero is the penalty taker, but that is how far the analysis has gone now". They've started the season well.

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