Liverpool's Sadio Mane Says Fatigue Is 'All in the Head,' Denies Being a Diver

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27: Sadio Mane of Liverpool during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and SSC Napoli at Anfield on November 27, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool winger Sadio Mane has dismissed concerns over the Reds suffering from fatigue and denied being a diver.

Mane spoke after the Reds' 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw with Napoli on Wednesday.

Per Ian Doyle of the Liverpool Echo, he said about fatigue:

"I think it is here [taps forehead]. Honestly, I think it is all in the head.

"The tiredness is in the head, so as long as the body recovers well, I think it is not difficult for us to play every single game.

"If the team needs us, and the coach needs us, I think we will be able to play and help the team."

Mane and Roberto Firmino—who reached the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations and the Copa America with Senegal and Brazil, respectivelyhave appeared in every Premier League and European match this season.

The former played in the AFCON final on July 19, and he was back in pre-season with Liverpool on August 5.

Mohamed Salah also attended AFCON with Egypt, who were knocked out in the round of 16, and he has played all but two of the Reds' league and European fixtures.

If Liverpool reach the FIFA Club World Cup final, they'll play 11 fixtures in all competitions between Saturday and January 2.

Whether the players are feeling fatigued or not, managing their fitness during this gruelling period will be important, and it may also help keep them fresher for the second half of the season.

Wednesday's draw was only the third time this season in the Premier League or Champions League that Liverpool have failed to win.

Dries Mertens fired the Partenopei in front at Anfield from a tight angle before Dejan Lovren headed home an equaliser in the second half (U.S., UK only, respectively):

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Napoli ahead at Anfield 😳 https://t.co/NXkhTReJPW

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Dejan Lovren: Liverpool goalscorer 😅 https://t.co/BHN82WxUUy

Shortly before half-time, Mane went down theatrically in the penalty area after being touched on the arm by Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

Mane told Doyle he thought he should have been awarded a spot-kick and jokingly added:

"I was not diving like usual, eh?! Like I always said, I am not a kind of player who will always dive to steal something from the game. I could be lucky sometimes and get a penalty, but he didn't give it for me, and it wasn't a dive."

Football statistician Michael Caley felt it was a dive:

Michael Caley @MC_of_A

that was a much better dive by Mane, made a light touch on the arm look like it might have been a penalty to the point of requiring a VAR check

Mane was booked for diving against Aston Villa earlier in November, prompting an accusation from City boss Pep Guardiola that he is a diver.

The 27-year-old denied that being the case at the time:

B/R Football @brfootball

Sadio Mane says he isn’t a diver, but says he would ‘dive’ again if it won a penalty 🧐 https://t.co/7uYcbJUNHS

Mane's growing reputation for going down too easily in the penalty area could mean he's coming under more scrutiny from officials.

He's a key player for the Reds, though, with 12 goals and five assists to his name in all competitions this season.