Sadio Mane has got jokes.
After Pep Guardiola suggested that the Liverpool forward likes to dive, conveniently ahead of first place Liverpool host his second place Man City at Anfield on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Jurgen Klopp defended Mane and said he isn’t a diver.
Asked if Guardiola and Man City are worried about facing unbeaten Liverpool this weekend, here’s what Mane said…
“Maybe. I don’t know. You guys know more than me. The only thing I can say I will be for sure ready for the team, to give everything possible, and to help my team,” Mane said. “If it could be a penalty for sure I will ‘dive’ again. If the dive will give me a penalty then I will do it to get it back. Why not? But what Jurgen said is correct. I do not dive.”
In essence Mane is saying that he would dive to get a penalty kick, but it was with his tongue placed firmly in his cheek. All of this talk came up after he was booked for simulation in Liverpool 2-1 win at Aston Villa, and Mane has history of winning plenty of penalty kicks.
“[I will keep doing] like I’m always doing. It’s what I want to keep doing. If I get a penalty, yeah it’s a penalty. If no penalty, no penalty, but [it will never] change the way I’m playing or the way I’m doing my things,” Mane said.
His pace often gets him past defenders and then they have a decision to make. Usually they make a bad one. That’s not Mane’s fault.
On a more serious note, does Mane believe Guardiola is trying to influence the officials ahead of the game?
“I think it’s a bit clever from him to get the attention of the referee but I will just play my football like I’m always doing,” Mane added. “I don’t pay attention to what he’s saying because it’s part of football. It doesn’t make anything for me. Even though I saw him commenting about it, what he said, for me, I think it’s positive …”
If Mane goes down in the box this Sunday it will be intriguing to see how the referees react.