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Klopp defends Mane after Guardiola ‘diving’ claim

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp attends a press conference at Anfield on the eve of their Champions League match against Genk © AFP / Paul ELLIS

London, United Kingdom, Nov 4 – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dismissed Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s allegation that Sadio Mane is a diver ahead of next weekend’s clash between the Premier League title rivals.

Mane was booked after failing to win a penalty and then provided an assist before scoring the winner in a last-gasp 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Guardiola, whose side also scored late to beat Southampton, said of the Senegal international: “Sometimes he’s diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute.”

Klopp, preparing the European champions for their Champions League clash against Genk on Tuesday, brushed it off, saying on Monday: “I am not 100 percent sure if he spoke about Sadio or us in general.

“I didn’t hear Sadio’s name or know how we could have known so quick about any incident in the game.

“I can say Sadio is not a diver. There was a situation in the Aston Villa game where he got contact and went down. Maybe it was not a penalty but there was contact, it’s not as if he jumped over a leg and went down.”

Klopp also refused to countenance talk about next Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with City, currently six points behind his side in second place, with the tie at home to Genk to negotiate.

Liverpool are second in Group E on six points after three matches, one behind Napoli.

“I am absolutely not in the mood today to talk about Man City,” said Klopp.

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Asked if he was banning the words Manchester City until after Tuesday’s match, Klopp said: “You can say the words Man City, you just cannot think about it.

“I don’t have to tell them that City is on Sunday, tomorrow is Genk.

“I don’t doubt my players at all. I would feel a bit embarrassed if I had to tell them ‘Don’t think about Man City already’.”

Liverpool have earned themselves a reputation for scoring late goals.

Saturday’s win at Villa Park prompted midfielder James Milner to post a jokey health warning, stating: “If you suffer from anxiety or heart problems it’s not advisable to support LFC.”

Klopp apologised for the emotional rollercoaster but stressed things usually worked out fine for the Premier League leaders.

“All my family and friends tell me the same, they try to enjoy our games but it is more nervy and exciting in their opinion,” he said.

“To be honest it (Villa) was not that intense heart attack-wise. We have to accept if you are really good you should win the game.”

“But I can imagine it is really hard to follow us and I am sorry for that,” he added. “But at least at the end most of the time there is some relief.”

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