Jurgen Klopp has done his best to respond to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola‘s thinly veiled comments about Sadio Mane and his yellow card against Aston Villa. Mane was cautioned for diving early in Liverpool’s comeback win over Aston Villa, and many have offered their opinions of the incident.
In his own post-match press obligations, Guardiola was asked about the upcoming game against Liverpool and how the Reds have picked up a few last-second results to help stave off Man City in the Premier League table. Without prompting, he offered a thinly veiled shot at the Reds attacker, not naming Mane particularly but clearly referring to his late goals that have earned Liverpool points.
“It has happened many times, what Liverpool have done, in the last few years, it’s because [Mane] is a special talent,” he told BBC Sport after the game. “Sometimes he’s diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute. He’s a talent.”
Klopp was asked to respond in his own post-match press conference, and while he was hesitant to look forward to this weekend with a Champions League match to focus on, he did offer a defense of his player.
“Do I like that he [Guardiola] says about one of my players?” Klopp said. “I’m not sure 100 percent that he spoke about Sadio or about us in general. I didn’t hear Sadio’s name. I don’t know how he could have known about any incident in the game [Liverpool’s win over Aston Villa] so quick after their [City] game. But I can say, and people from other clubs is always like this, Sadio is not a diver.”
He went on to defend Mane in the situation, saying even if there was some embellishment of the situation, there was contact, and Mane was not creating something out of nothing. “There was a situation in the Aston Villa game where he got a contact and went down. Maybe it was not a penalty but there was contact. It’s not like jumping over a leg and going like he hit you. There was contact. All the other penalties were penalties because he was [fouled] in that situation. I’m 100% sure if something would happen like this for Man City, they would want to have a penalty, because somebody kicked a player in the box and it’s a penalty.”
Other than those comments, Klopp would not be drawn into speaking about Manchester City. “I’m not really in a Man City mood in the moment to be honest. I don’t think about it,” Klopp said.
“I’m absolutely not in a mood to talk about Man City. I really want to talk today about Genk or us, or whatever – but not about the game on Sunday.”