Mahrez challenges Man City to 'hit the ground running' on Premier League return to keep title hopes alive

Riyad Mahrez Manchester City 2022.Getty Images.
  • City eight points behind leaders
  • Need a response from Brentford defeat
  • Momentum gained through beating Liverpool

WHAT HAPPENED? City returned to action on Thursday, beating Carabao Cup holders Liverpool 3-2 to set up a quarter-final tie away to Southampton. While their aspirations of reclaiming that trophy look good, they face a challenge to retain their Premier League crown because of the emergence of Mikel Arteta's Arsenal. Losing their last top flight fixture at home to Brentford left City fans waiting weeks for a response, something they'll be searching for against Leeds.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to the club website, Mahrez said: "We have to hit the ground running. We are not currently top of the Premier League and that is where we want to be. We will take it game by game but our aim to try to win another title. There are lots of strong teams in England who could still win the league so we are not just focused on Arsenal, although they have been very good so far. If we want to win the league, we will have to be ready as soon as the league starts again.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: After Arsenal came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 and Newcastle defeated Leicester 3-0 on Boxing Day, City go into the fixture at Elland Road third in the table and eight points behind the Gunners. The two will have played the same amount of games come full-time on Wednesday.

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Riyad Mahrez Manchester City Liverpool League Cup 2022-23Getty

Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR MAHREZ? He will be looking to maintain his starting berth when City travel to Leeds on Wednesday night, as well as continuing his scoring form after netting against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup victory.