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This weekend sees a crunch six-pointer in the Premier League title race, as Manchester City welcome Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium. The winners of this clash will back themselves to go on and win the championship, with the Citizens confident that their African superstar, Riyad Mahrez, could be the difference between the teams.
The 31-year-old French-born player has enjoyed his best season in a Manchester City shirt (since joining the club from Leicester City in 2018), racking up over 20 goals from his preferred position out on the left flank. It is the first time that Mahrez has surpassed the 20-goal mark in his career, eclipsing the 18 he scored for Leicester in their astonishing title-winning season in 2015-16.
“In my head, I always try to get close to 20 goals, so I am ahead (on that so far)! The most important thing for me is if the team wins and the team plays good,” said the Algerian attacker. “Even if we win everything at the end of the season and I stay on the same number of goals, I would be happy. Above everything, I just want to win and want to achieve things with the team.“
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has also praised Mahrez for his contribution, adding that he pushes the North African to keep improving.
“An exceptional player, a player the many teams would love to have,” said the City boss. “I would not say it is his best season because he has played in the Premier League at a high level for many years. Last season he was exceptional at the end. I try to push him a lot. We struggle together because I know the quality that he has.”
Mahrez revealed that Guardiola’s tutelage on improving his movement has benefitted him in recent years: “I always think I need to add things to my game. Pep worked with me a lot as well to do this, to improve more in my runs, to be more in the box and to be where you can score goals,” he explained.
“Pep always gives us the freedom in the last 30 metres. You can do whatever you want. He obviously gives you the information of where he thinks the spaces are but at the end it is about you.”
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See Riyad Mahrez in the following match live on SuperSport:
Sunday 10 April
17:30: Manchester City v Liverpool – LIVE on SuperSport Premier League and SuperSport Maximo 1