Sadio Mane has claimed Pep Guardiola has tried to ‘get the attention of the referee’ by branding the forward a ‘diver’ prior to Liverpool’s clash against Manchester City on Sunday.
Guardiola made the comments after Mane was booked for simulation in Liverpool’s last-gasp victory over Aston Villa, in which the Senegalese headed the winner.
Mane has already won penalties against Leicester and Tottenham this season and Guardiola claimed the former Southampton man ‘sometimes dives’.
But Mane laughed off the comments when pressed ahead of Sunday’s clash, insisting he will not change the way he plays.
“If it could be a penalty for sure I will ‘dive’ again,” he joked. “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.
“It’s a bit clever from him to get the attention of the referee but I will just play my football,” he said. “I don’t pay attention to what he’s saying because it’s part of football.
“Even though I saw him commenting about it, what he said, for me, I think it’s positive.
“The only thing I can say I will be ready for the team, to give everything possible, and to help my team.”
Mane was pressed on his booking against Villa after the referee adjudged he went down too easily under the challenge of Frederic Guilbert.
“There was contact for sure,” he said. “Maybe it was not a penalty and he didn’t give it, and he gave me a yellow card. I don’t have any problem about it.
“It can happen in football and we have seen many people, some diving and get penalties, some got a penalty and the referee didn’t give it. You have to deal with it.
“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 is under no illusions how big Sunday’s game is – with the Reds having an opportunity to open up a nine-point ap at the top with victory.
He added: “It will be really really important for us to get a positive result and we will be ready, spot on from the first second until the last.
“We will give everything possible to win.”