Pep: ‘Special talent’ Mane affects matches with goals, sometimes diving

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp have shown immense respect for each other both on the touch line and in the press, but the former is threatening that just a little bit in the run-up to next weekend’s massive match at Anfield.

As usual, however, it’s embedded inside of complimentary talk via a dose of passive aggressiveness.

Sadio Mane scored a special stoppage time winner for Liverpool on Sunday, which came minutes after Manchester City had rallied for a win of its own. Mane also was booked for diving in the first half.

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Guardiola probably still had a bee in his bonnet from thinking he’d closed ground on the Premier League table, and said this to the BBC’s Match of the Day.

“It has happened many times, what Liverpool have done, in the last few years, it’s because (Mane) is a special talent,” Guardiola said. “Sometimes he’s diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute. He’s a talent.”

Mane has earned a reputation for embellishment, but you usually don’t see Pep going to this particular well. Perhaps it is an indication of how difficult he’s finding it to be in the chasing positions.