Liverpool winger Sadio Mane has defended his performance against Crystal Palace and insisted he should have been awarded a penalty instead of being booked for diving.
The Senegal winger proved to be a controversial figure in Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Selhurst Park. He was first booked after going down under a challenge from James McArthur before narrowly escaping a second yellow when he deliberately picked the ball up.
Mane claims he was surprised that referee Neil Swarbrick didn’t award a spot-kick and insists he never feared being sent off later on.
‘Honestly, I was thinking he (Swarbrick) was going to give a penalty,’ Mane told the Liverpool Echo.
‘He didn’t give it but I was not focused on that because it’s part of what can happen. I could have been lucky but it’s part of football. I was doing my best and in the end I scored a goal.
‘I was not worried (about the handball). I was surprised he didn’t give the foul but in my mind it was not a red card or something because I was sure that this was a foul.’
Mane brought Liverpool level moments after half-time with a classy close-range finish following Luka Milivojevic’s penalty had put the Eagles in front.
Mohamed Salah then scored his 37th goal of the season to complete the comeback for Jurgen Klopp’s side and seal a vital three points in the hunt for Champions League football.
Mane always felt Liverpool would find a way back into the match and insisted his team deserved the three points.
‘I’m someone who believes in myself, and I believe in the qualities of my team-mates. I know what they can do. At 1-0 down I was thinking “we can come back”. We did the job,’ he added.
‘We got our reward in the end and we deserved to win. It’s a big step towards the top four. We are going to take it game by game.’