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Yet during the closing stages of Manchester City's goalless draw with Liverpool and subsequent post-match debrief, it became clear that one stone had in fact been left unturned by the tactical genius - Riyad Mahrez's record from the penalty spot.

There is no doubt that Liverpool have improved, they were already nine points behind City at this stage last season.

Despite being gifted the opportunity to grab all three points at their title challenger's home ground, only for Riyad Mahrez to miss a late penalty, Pep Guardiola will undoubtedly be the happier of the two managers after claiming a point. "It showed we are not just a team that wants to play, and leaves big spaces, but we are a team who want to be strong defensively, and that's what we showed".

Guardiola said after the game that he would apologise to Jesus, but the striker told reporters: "Obviously I'm not happy".

"I really like the work they do, but on the other side if you play against a team of their quality, the win is even sweeter", he said. "In the training session he shoots ideal penalties, and ok this sometimes happens so at the end it is what it is".

Mahrez misses penalty kick as Liverpool, Man City draw
Aguero is City's usual penalty-taker, but he had been substituted, leading to an on-field discussion as to who would take it. Milner has become a key cog in Liverpool's system this season, and has started all but one Premier League match this season.


It's certainly the biggest Premier League game of the season to date, and it's going to be interesting to see how Jurgen Klopp out thinks Pep Guardiola tactically. Eighty-five minutes, you obviously get a bit worn out and that moment goes by in a split second and I chose to dive in, which is not what I would normally do. And in no game we played so far, the game was level like it was today.

Guardiola also admitted after the game that it was "quite special" to keep a clean sheet at Anfield as he, once again, strayed into Mourinho territory by cherishing the shut-out. "In that situation, they are much better". His absence meant that he had to name a less offensive-minded midfield trio of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum. City struggled to beat Van Dijk on the ground or in the air, while Joe Gomez at right-back was outstanding against Raheem Sterling.

In four matches away to Liverpool, in all competitions, City have managed just eight shots on target-almost unthinkable, considering the attacking brilliance in their armoury.

It depends on your point of view, but the reality is that this was simply a day when the defenders turned up and did what they are paid to do.

"As a back four, that's what we go into every game going for".


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