Pep Guardiola amped the tensions before the potentially decisive clash between Manchester City and Liverpool next Sunday, as he decided to call out the league leaders’ forward Sadio Mane for diving on Saturday.
After Manchester City clawed back to win all the three points at Etihad against Southampton, overturning a 1-0 deficit, thanks to two second-half goals from Sergio Aguero and Kyle Walker. Even Liverpool came back from a goal down at Villa Park to win 2-1 right at the end, because of two late headers from Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane.
After going down in the first half against Aston Villa, Sadio Mane was booked for diving inside the penalty box, which, according to pundits though had contact on the Senegalese’s right leg. The 27-year-old did assist the left-back’s equaliser and scored the decisive winner off Trent Alexander-Arnold’s 94th-minute corner.
In the wake of Liverpool’s comeback win, Pep Guardiola indicated that in their November 10 trip to Anfield, he would keep a keen eye on the Senegal international.
Judge for yourselves pic.twitter.com/3d28jlAVzs
— Sam Lee (@SamLee) November 2, 2019
“Sometimes (Mane) is diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute. He’s a talent,” said Guardiola to Sky Sports.
“Another close Liverpool win? If it’s one time, two times, ‘we were lucky, we were lucky’, but it happened in the last two seasons many, many times… they have a special character to do that.”
“We look at ourselves, we know which team we face, I think they have won 10 and drawn one. Next week we go to Anfield to try to play them.”
Very interesting to hear Guardiola reference Mane’s ‘diving’ a week before City come to Anfield when asked about Liverpool’s recovery today. Of course, he’s won decisive penalties (both of which were penalties) in each of Liverpool’s last two home league games…
— Simon Hughes (@Simon_Hughes__) November 2, 2019
Turning back to his own team, Pep suggested that the clash at Etihad Stadium was more comfortable than the rather close scoreline suggested.
“We played incredible from the first minute until the end. We created an incredible amount of chances. We were pressured but we did it. We kept our cool and we were patient. We know we will always get chances, it was important that we stayed calm ahead,” added the former-Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager.
Before the clash of the top two, Liverpool will host KRC Genk at Anfield in their Group E match of Champions League, while Manchester City seek to continue their winning run in Group C away to Atalanta in Bergamo.