Manchester City, the reigning Premier League champions, were given a gilt-edged chance to leave Anfield with a win for the first time since 2003
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was a relieved man after giving away a late penalty that Riyad Mahrez missed in a goalless draw with title rivals Manchester City on Sunday.
City, the reigning Premier League champions, were given a gilt-edged chance to leave Anfield with a win for the first time since 2003 when Van Dijk brought down Leroy Sane inside the box five minutes from time.
But Mahrez, City's club-record signing, blasted high over the bar with regular penalty-taker Sergio Aguero having already been substituted by Pep Guardiola.
Van Dijk’s mistimed challenge gave City the perfect opportunity to end Liverpool’s unbeaten run in the Premier League, but Mahrez blew it, writes @OliverKayTimes— Times Sport (@TimesSport) October 8, 2018
And his record suggested he might ... https://t.co/EFCDu9MjuG pic.twitter.com/ufdnLJsPen
"It is not smart to dive in there," Van Dijk told Sky Sports.
"It was a penalty and it shouldn't have happened, but I'm very happy we didn't concede."
Unlike some players, he added he had watched the penalty.
"I watched it because I wanted to get the rebound if he missed it," Van Dijk explained.
Do @LFC's players need a rest? 😩— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 7, 2018
"Somebody has to start thinking of the players, because without them this game is difficult to play."
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool players need break after Man City draw: https://t.co/0q7SFqZNKC pic.twitter.com/TAIy2AkHeV
"They did well, as did we, up until the penalty moment.
"We were unlucky not to score, and lucky not to concede as well, so I think we cancelled each other out. It was a tough game against the champions and I'm happy we kept the clean sheet," he added.
Mahrez has now missed five of his last eight Premier League penalties, four for Leicester, from where he signed for £60m ($78.7m), and one for City.
🆕 NEVILLE ON MAHREZ PENALTY MISS 🆕— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 8, 2018
.@GNev2 has questioned whether Riyad Mahrez was the right player to take Man City's penalty in Sunday's draw with Liverpool 👉👉 https://t.co/SXZ4On66UZ pic.twitter.com/0rYcszVNZN
But City defender John Stones defended the decision to let him take the high-pressure spot-kick by saying: "It is one of those things in football.
"Riyad Mahrez was taking them really well in training all week, but it happens and we have to move on."