Mahrez recognises 'massive' stakes in Premier League battle

The Algerian returns to his former club knowing there is little margin for error in the title race

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez believes his team-mates must win “every time” they take to the field after falling behind Liverpool in the Premier League title race.

Defeats this month to Chelsea and Crystal Palace have left Pep Guardiola’s defending champions in second, four points off the pace set by Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten leaders.

Mahrez is back at his old stomping ground of the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City on Boxing Day and knows there is no room for another slip-up, with a trip to Southampton on the horizon before Liverpool visit the Etihad Stadium in a blockbuster January 3 clash.

“It’s massive because you have to win now, every time,” the Algeria international told Sky Sports.

“You don’t have any chance to drop points because when you drop points, the opponent wins and now they’re in front of us.”

A late penalty miss in the 0-0 draw at Liverpool in October can be set alongside five Premier League goals for Guardiola’s men and some impressive displays as progress to the last 16 of the Champions League was secured.

While Mahrez has enjoyed an impressive first few months to his City career, the winger has also been rotated alongside Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane throughout the campaign.

“When you arrive in the first six months it’s always difficult to adapt to everything,” added Mahrez.

“I’m very good. I’m still new to the team. I think more months are going to pass and I’m going to be better.”

Mahrez became City’s record signing when he joined for £60 million from the Foxes in July.

In four years at the King Power the 27-year-old scored 48 goals in 179 appearances.

After signing for Leicester for £450k, Mahrez developed into one of the best wingers in the country, and after helping the club gain promotion from the Championship in his first season, the Algerian was an instrumental part of the side who won the Premier League in 2016.

The Boxing Day fixture will also be the first time Mahrez has played at the King Power since the tragic death of Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in October.

The former Le Havre man dedicated his goal against Tottenham a few days after the plane crash to the late Foxes’ owner.

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