GARY NEVILLE has questioned whether Riyad Mahrez should have been allowed to take Manchester City’s late penalty in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool.
The Algerian missed an 86th minute spot-kick awarded after Reds defender Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have fouled Leroy Sane in the box.
With City’s first choice penalty taker Sergio Aguero having already been substituted, Mahrez took on the duties but blazed his effort over the bar.
And it was revealed after the game that City boss Pep Guardiola was not aware that Mahrez had missed four of his previous penalty attempts.
Former Manchester United defender Neville believes that poor record from the spot may have played a part in Mahrez failing to even work Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.
“You saw his penalty map come up with the three misses and you then think he’s got anxiety with previous penalties”
“It was an unusual situation where the main penalty taker was off so you were leaving decisions to players on the pitch,” he said after the game on Sky Sports.
“There was no Vincent Kompany on the pitch to provide authority to decide who was going to take it.
“Pep Guardiola came out of his technical area and was pointing at someone, while Benjamin Mendy got involved.
“Gabriel Jesus was on the spot initially then Riyad Mahrez came over and said ‘I’m having it’ and pointed towards his chest.
“In that case, you’re slightly undermining each other in public – it’s almost like you’re saying you don’t trust someone to do it properly.
“Naturally then that puts more pressure on yourself. It was such a poor penalty – he leant back.
“Mahrez hasn’t hit the ground running at Manchester City – he’s not been amazing since joining and he’s fighting with some really good players to get into the team.
“There’s a little bit of authority with him as he took the penalty, but there’s also a bit of selfishness – as he looked like he wanted to be the hero.
“You saw his penalty map come up with the three misses and you then think he’s got anxiety with previous penalties as it means you’re not perfect at them.”
The stalemate means both teams remain tied at the top of the Premier League with 20 points, level with Chelsea who gained ground after beating Southampton.
Asked about the penalty incident Guardiola told Sky Sports: “He (Mahrez) had the courage to hit the penalty. In the training session, he shoots perfect penalties.
“In the end, ok, it sometimes happens. In the end it is what it is.”