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Mahrez miss proves costly in entertaining goalless draw at Anfield

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 7,104

Pin Mahrez's miss proved crucial. AFP
Mahrez's miss proved crucial. AFP

Mahrez miss proves costly in entertaining goalless draw at Anfield

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 7,104

Riyad Mahrez's late penalty miss cost Manchester City a hoodoo-banishing victory over Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday as the two sides played out a cagey, but entertaining goalless draw.

The headline news pre-match was that both Vincent Kompany and Trent Alexander-Arnold were left out of the starting lineups for their respective sides, though their absence was hardly noted as both teams defended well throughout on Merseyside.

City hadn't beaten Liverpool away from home in 15 years going into the game and that rarely looked like changing in a first half bereft of chances, but not short on entertainment.

Both sides started at breakneck speed, with the hosts enjoying more of the ball in the opening exchanges. Mo Salah, looking to continue his fine run of form at Anfield, had the games first sight of goal, dragging an effort wide of the near post after getting in between John Stones and Aymeric Laporte.

Benjamin Mendy had to be alert shortly afterwards to get something on Sadio Mane's cross and prevent the Egyptian from having a free effort on goal.

City took control for the rest of the half, but there were few talking points aside from a half-hearted penalty appeal from Sergio Aguero.

The home side were forced into a change just before the half-hour mark as James Milner suffered a muscular injury, with Naby Keita coming on in his place.

The second period got off to a much slower start than the first, though the game threatened to burst into life with around 60 minutes gone as Riyad Mahrez dragged an effort across goal and wide after being slipped in by Silva, before the Algerian called Alisson into a routine save just seconds later.

Salah responded in kind at the other end, but it proved to be something of a false dawn as the caginess soon returned to the game.

Daniel Sturridge was summoned from the bench as Jurgen Klopp's side looked to secure the victory, but it was another substitute who handed City the perfect chance to win the game.

Leroy Sane, who replaced the ineffective Raheem Sterling, lured Virgil van Dijk into an ill-advised lunge in the Liverpool box and when the Dutchman failed to make contact with the ball referee Martin Atkinson immediately pointed to the spot.

However, City's joy quickly turned to dismay as Mahrez blazed over from 12 yards, meaning he has now missed four of his last six spot-kicks.

A late Liverpool push failed to yield rewards as the game ended goalless.

The result means Pep Guardiola's side top the table on goal difference going into the international break, whilst City's winless run at Anfield continues.

Matt Morley

Matt Morley

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