Mahrez deflated by Anfield penalty miss - Stones
Riyad Mahrez is "deflated" after missing a late penalty in Manchester City's 0-0 draw with Liverpool, revealed team-mate John Stones.
City struggled to exert their authority in Sunday's blockbuster Premier League clash at Anfield, with neither side able to create a clear-cut chance.
But when Virgil van Dijk caught Leroy Sane in the closing stages, Mahrez had a golden chance to win the game, instead blasting his spot-kick over the crossbar.
There appeared to be confusion over who would take the kick before Mahrez stepped up, with regular taker Sergio Aguero having been substituted.
Stones, though, was happy to back Mahrez even though the former Leicester City winger has now failed to score from five of his 12 attempted penalties in the Premier League.
"I'd just started celebrating that we'd got it, a great opportunity to win a game," Stones told Sky Sports.
"Not taking any notice of who was taking it, so I think it's just decided between the boys. Riyad was taking them great in training all week and had the courage to step up.
"He's deflated, if it was me I'd be the same. I think he feels he let us down, but how he played for us, he gave everything, kept the ball and was top. Those things happen, I'm sure he'll score another."
58 - Among players to have taken at least 10 penalties in the Premier League, only Juan Pablo Angel (50%, 5/10) has a lower success rate than Riyad Mahrez (58%, 7/12). Fluffed. pic.twitter.com/SKbNurWsQD
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 7, 2018
City missed the chance to earn a first Premier League win at Anfield since 2003, but a goalless draw extends Liverpool's winless run to four matches, with Stones keen to stay positive after his side moved top of the table on goal difference.
"So close. It's one of those things in football. He was taking penalties really well in training all week. It happens, so we had to move on," the England defender said.
"It kind of got the crowd going for Liverpool and we had to dig in, in the end. Those sort of moments can go both ways. It could've been a goal and the game could've been over. As it was we didn't score and they could have got a goal so we had to stay switched on.
"As it is it's great progress from last season, we competed against them, they're a top team. To come to Anfield and get a clean sheet is something us as defenders are really proud of and as a team I thought everyone put the shift in and did their jobs for the team.
"A clean sheet at Anfield is not something you can do very often. The attacking threat from their team is brilliant and I think we stopped that, defended well as a team and kept them to as few chances as we could."
Plenty of positives to take from today
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 7, 2018
Van Dijk had no complaints over referee Martin Atkinson's decision to point to the spot, accepting he caught substitute Sane in the box.
"Not smart to dive in there, it was a penalty," the Liverpool defender said to Sky Sports.
"I said that to the referee afterwards as well. It shouldn't happen, but obviously very happy we didn't concede."