The moment it came for City to break their fifteen year Anfield hoodoo and two grown men were fighting on the penalty spot like kids in the playground. ‘I want it’ said Mahrez, ‘I’m having it’ said Jesus. The situation needed one of City’s leading heads to put out the fire.
At Manchester City, there is no better man to do such actions than Vincent Kompany. With the Belgian on the sidelines, City’s captain David Silva should have taken the ball away and took it himself. If he can thread a pass through a needle, a twelve-yard kick should be no trouble.
What actually happened was all too predictable, we’ve seen it all before. Riyad Mahrez threw caution to the wind and sent the ball into row Z, or more likely, Row ZZ.
Whenever players argue about whose to take the dreaded 12-yard kick, it never ends well. Just like when players shuffle on the spot before kicking or Jordan Henderson bouncing the ball for five minutes before duffing his kick at a World Cup.
Mahrez’s penalty resembled a skied tee shot on the first at St. Andrews or a missed conversion against the All Blacks at Twickenham- high, wide and a success rate of zero per cent.
The relief around Anfield was palpable. The fans cheered and Jurgen Klopp punched the air knowing his team had dodged a massive bullet.
Around the tunnel area, many were smiling. Sat behind Pep Guardiola a hooked Sergio Aguero looked on in despair. God knows what he made of it all.
One thing is for sure, there’d had been no squabbling if he’d been there to take it. Most importantly, City would probably have come away with all three points.