Pep Guardiola apologised to Gabriel Jesus after taking the penalty off him in Manchester City’s 0-0 draw at Liverpool.
With Sergio Aguero substituted, the Brazil international striker was ready to take the 86th-minute spot kick, but the City boss instructed Benjamin Mendy to tell Riyad Mahrez to take it instead.
The Algerian winger then blasted his shot high over the bar — his fifth missed penalty in eight attempts in the Premier League — as City had to settle for a point.
“Yeah [Gabriel] wanted it, I apologise,” Guardiola told a news conference. “During the training sessions, I see [Mahrez] every time taking penalties and it gives me a lot of confidence. It will be a good experience for him, next time it will go in.”
The result leaves City top going into the international break, but only above rivals Liverpool and Chelsea on goal difference.
However, Guardiola was happy with the point after losing his last three games against Jurgen Klopp’s side, and having done it at a ground where City haven’t won in 15 years.
“It is a point. We were close, more than ever to winning here but it is better than last season when we lose and especially when we try to be ourselves all the time,” he added. “We compete really, really good. We had our chance. It’s what it is.
“I am so comfortable with the performance we have done. They didn’t have one shot on target. In Anfield, that is so complicated.”
Guardiola admitted City played a much slower game than in his previous visits to Anfield to restrict Liverpool’s ability to punish any mistakes — describing Klopp’s side as the best in the world at it.
“Yeah, if you play so quick they are much better than us,” he said. “We want to create but when you make a mistake … If it is an open game at Anfield, you don’t even have one percent of a chance because they are so good, they play for that.
“We controlled it through Riyad, Bernardo [Silva], the guys to give the extra pass. Up and down they are maybe, no I’m pretty sure, the best team in the world in these transitions, offensive, defensive, it is built for that. In that situation, they are much better.”