'Sadio Mane is not a diver', says Liverpool coach Klopp

AFP , Monday 4 Nov 2019

Klopp defends the Senegalese forward following diving claims from Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (AP)

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.

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'."

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