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Stones explains Anfield penalty decision

SOLID BLOCK: John Stones puts the squeeze on Andy Robertson

SOLID BLOCK: John Stones puts the squeeze on Andy Robertson

John Stones revealed how Riyad Mahrez’s excellent form during penalty practice in the week was behind the decision that saw the Algerian international take a late spot-kick at Anfield.

With regular penalty taker Sergio Aguero already off the field having been substituted when City were awarded an 86th minute penalty, Mahrez was entrusted with the responsibility from the spot.

And though the attacking winger’s effort went over the bar, central defender Stones said he and his City colleagues were fully behind the Algerian.

"So close, 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,” said Stones.

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"I think it was just decided between the boys. Riyad was taking them well in training all week and had the courage to step up He is deflated and I think he feels he let us down, but he gave everything and he kept the ball well, and had he scored it would have made his day. These things happen.”

The draw was enough to move City back on top of the Premier League table on goal difference and was the first clean sheet the club had achieved at Anfield in the Premier League era.

And Stones believes it was more than just reward for a battling display by Pep Guardiola’s men.

"A clean sheet at Anfield is not something you achieve very often,” Stones added. “Their attacking threat is brilliant and we stopped that today. We defended as a team and not just a back four, and we kept them to the least number of chances we could. It was always going to go right to the end.

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“They are a top team and to get a clean sheet at Anfield is something all of the team and we as defenders are really proud of.

"It was a tactical battle and I’m proud of all the team as it was a real physical battle and everyone put a shift in for the team and did their job for team.

"It got their crowd going so we had to dig in at the end because those moments can go both ways, so we had to keep our heads and keep switched on. It is progress from last season, great progress how we competed against them.

READ: Liverpool v Man City | Pep Guardiola's verdict

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"They are a top team and to get a clean sheet at Anfield is something all of the team and we as defenders are really proud of.

"It was a tactical battle today and I'm proud of all the teams as it was a real physical battle and everyone put a shift in for the team and did their job for the team.

"Their attacking threat is brilliant and we stopped that. We defended as a team and not just a back four, and we kept them to the least number of chances we could.

"We can take a lot of positives from it and be proud of how we performed and look to take that into the next game after the international break."

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