HomeTrending TopicsMahrez penalty miss leaves Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis at deadlock – The Guardian
Posted in Trending Topics on 7th October 2018

When the story is advised of the 2018‑19 Premier League season it is going to be an oddity that the primary heavyweight contest between the 2 sides who’re extensively assumed to have the excellent gamers – the challengers versus the champions, in line with the tv blurb – is match for a spot in solely the small print.

Did Liverpool versus Manchester Metropolis, with all their attacking riches, actually simply end in a Zero-Zero draw? Not many would have anticipated such an end result and, for Riyad Mahrez, it is going to be remembered as a private ordeal.

If nothing else, Mahrez at the very least confirmed the nerve to grab the ball when Virgil van Dijk’s maladroit problem on Leroy Sané, certainly one of Metropolis’s substitutes, gave Pep Guardiola’s group an 85th-minute penalty and the prospect to win a surprisingly subdued match. By that stage Sergio Agüero, Metropolis’s standard penalty-taker, had been substituted. His substitute, Gabriel Jesus, wished the glory however Mahrez was given the duty and Metropolis will remorse the missed alternative. Mahrez’s penalty was struck wildly, skyrocketed over the crossbar and nonetheless rising because it flew into the group.

Ought to he have taken it within the first place? Mahrez has now missed 5 of his final eight penalties and, on the very least, it’s a professional query allowing for the significance of that kick, with Metropolis attempting to strike a big early blow within the title race. Mahrez had the prospect to safe Metropolis’s first win at Anfield in 18 makes an attempt. Because it was, Liverpool can replicate on a fortunate escape on a day that was in any other case stuffed with intrigue however low on incident and, for lengthy spells, not far off being a little bit of a stinker.

If that sounds barely harsh, maybe it’s due to final season’s epic contest when Liverpool led Four-1, had been pegged again to Four-Three within the ultimate six minutes and Metropolis very practically accomplished an inconceivable feat of escapology in stoppage time. Guardiola didn’t get pleasure from coming off second-best in a seven-goal thriller and this time his aspect had been set as much as play with restraint, to gradual the sport down and cease Liverpool rolling out the favorite Anfield tactic of sustained, typically wild strain. That left Liverpool with a distinct kind of problem and essentially the most disappointing half for Jürgen Klopp have to be that they didn’t have the wit or creativity to conjure up a single clear probability.

Riyad Mahrez reacts after missing his penalty.

Riyad Mahrez reacts after lacking his penalty. : Martin Rickett/PA

It was actually uncommon to see the period of time Metropolis’s gamers spent passing the ball round their very own defence, typically at little greater than strolling tempo, whereas the Liverpool followers whistled their discontent. It didn’t assist the match as a spectacle however Guardiola clearly thought it was price attempting one thing totally different and, nevertheless a lot it was out of character, maybe he may very well be excused this one time.

It was Might 2003 when Metropolis final received at Anfield, with Kevin Keegan within the dugout and Nicolas Anelka scoring the last-minute winner. If Mahrez had struck his shot on the right track, Metropolis might need been celebrating a brilliantly disciplined away efficiency – simply not the ways, maybe, that may often be anticipated of Guardiola.

By the halfway level of the primary half Liverpool had been subdued to the purpose triumphant cry of “The place’s your well-known ambiance?” may very well be heard from the away supporters. That introduced a pleasant riposte of “The place’s your European Cups?” from the Kop, however on the pitch the house group had been discovering it tough to fathom out what their opponents had been scheming. Liverpool desperately wanted certainly one of their entrance gamers to grab the sport by its lapels, enliven the tempo and encourage the group to show up the quantity. Because it was, Mohamed Salah toiled away with none actual pleasure. If something, Salah was the choose of Liverpool’s attackers however he, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané have hardly ever regarded so ineffective as a entrance three.

Not that Metropolis had been too potent themselves. Certainly, here’s a query: when was the final time Agüero began for Metropolis with out having a single probability to check the opposition goalkeeper? That was the issue with Guardiola’s ways – by adopting this new, slower keep-ball they sacrificed a few of the attacking qualities that make them such a harmful group in their very own proper. Metropolis did management giant spells of play nevertheless it was typically bordering on risk-free soccer, with their full-backs hardly ever venturing ahead, Bernardo Silva working in a extra withdrawn function than standard and Raheem Sterling, as typically occurs at Anfield, discovering it tough to have any optimistic impression.

Nonetheless Metropolis nonetheless regarded the extra rounded aspect. Additionally they had one other three penalty appeals all through the match, two of them coming towards Dejan Lovren for a first-half problem on Agüero and, later, for swiping his hand into the face of Jesus to cease a promising run from the Brazilian.

Liverpool, who misplaced James Milner to a hamstring harm, had been additionally grateful the referee, Martin Atkinson, dominated that Van Dijk had been pushed by Fernandinho after the centre-half jutted out an arm to dam the ball whereas defending a nook. The penalty Atkinson did award got here from a pointless problem from Van Dijk. Mahrez was appointed to take it and Guardiola later apologised to Jesus for what might need been a pricey misjudgment.

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