Jurgen Klopp Defends Sadio Mane After Pep Guardiola's 'Dive' Accusation

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2019

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: Sadio Mane of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Liverpool FC at Villa Park on November 2, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has defended Sadio Mane after he was booked for simulation in Liverpool's 2-1 comeback win over Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday. 

Ahead of Liverpool's UEFA Champions League clash with Genk on Tuesday, and after some accusatory comments from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, Klopp stood by his star winger:

Paul Gorst @ptgorst

Klopp on Pep comments: "I am not in a Man City mood at the moment. I am 100% sure he only talks about Sadio. Don't know how he could have known about the incident so soon after the game. Sadio is not a diver! Contact at Villa, no penalty but was contact. Not like he jumped over."

Mane, 27, was instrumental in the Reds claiming three points at Villa Park. He set up Andy Robertson's 87th-minute equaliser and then scored the winner deep into injury time. 

After the visit of Genk to Anfield, Liverpool host City on Sunday in the biggest game of the 2019-20 Premier League season so far.

The two clubs fought tooth and nail for the title last season until City finally edged Liverpool into second despite a record-breaking campaign for the Reds:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Liverpool are the first team in top-flight history to lose just one game and not win the title. No other side has won as many as 30 games and reached 97 points and failed to lift the trophy. Watch #MOTD 👉 https://t.co/BZoVsqpaEK https://t.co/vfWgXhIr6d

After 11 games of the new term, with Klopp's side still unbeaten, Liverpool hold a six-point lead over the Manchester outfit at the top of the table:

Premier League @premierleague

11 down, 27 to go... https://t.co/IXdrbTY3OD

As a result, despite it still being relatively early in the season, there is a lot riding on Sunday's fixture on Merseyside.

If City win, they will end Liverpool's run of 28 consecutive games unbeaten in the English top flight and cut the gap at the top to just three points.

But if the Reds win, they will take a nine-point lead over City and confidence will soar around the prospect of Liverpool finally breaking their 30-year title drought.

It is no surprise, then, that the war of words between the two managers is well under way.