Featuring from the off in most games in the Premier League this season, Riyad Mahrez looked a shoe in to start for Manchester City against Liverpool last weekend.
However, in a surprising twist of events, the Algeria international was left out of the squad entirely, forced to watch his club draw 1-1 at home to Jürgen Klopp’s men, unable to help them get the three points they so sorely needed.
The winger then jetted off to join his national team squad for the current international break, where he clearly expressed his feelings to his manager, Djamel Belmadi, who relayed it all in a press conference where he was asked about his captain.
Asked if he was worried about the 29-year-old’s situation at Manchester City, the Algeria head coach dismissed it all swiftly, but admitted the player wasn’t best pleased at being left out of the Liverpool game.
He said, relayed by DZ Foot: “There’s nothing alarming about Mahrez’s situation at Manchester City. If you look at the number of games he’s played recently, it’s a fair amount. Pretty much all of them. It’s true we were all awaiting that game against Liverpool. We would have liked to see Riyad play and perform against that kind of opposition.
“Unfortunately, that’s part of the job. To face this kind of situation. Stay strong and not dramatise it. Riyad loves football, he would have liked to play that type of game. He’s disappointed. We all were not seeing him, but at the same time, he’s very happy each time to find the national team again”.
We’ll have to wait and see if the decision to leave out Mahrez was a one off from Guardiola, or if this marks the beginning of the end for the Algerian, who has found himself with the added competition of Ferran Torres this season.
The Spanish manager seems to like what his compatriot has offered so far, including three goals in three games in the Champions League, which led to the reward of starting the clash against Liverpool in Mahrez’s stead.