Pep Guardiola accuses 'special talent' Sadio Mane of diving

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Image: Pep Guardiola accuses Sadio Mane of going down too easily after the forward was booked for simulation on Saturday

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Sadio Mane does "sometimes dive" after the Liverpool forward was booked for simulation before scoring a last-minute winner against Aston Villa.

Guardiola was speaking after a dramatic day for the top two, who both scored late goals as they came from behind to win - City beating Southampton 2-1 at home and Liverpool winning 2-1 away to Aston Villa.

Mane scored Liverpool's winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time at Villa Park, but had seen yellow for simulation in the first half of the game.

"It has happened many times, what Liverpool have done, in the last few years, it's because (Mane) is a special talent," Guardiola told BBC Sport.

preview image 4:53
Jurgen Klopp admits going a full season unbeaten is probably impossible

"Sometimes he's diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute. He's a talent."

Jurgen Klopp's side had trailed to Trezeguet's 21st-minute goal but finally drew level when Andy Robertson scored in the 87th minute before Mane's winner.

Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool clears the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool
Image: Manchester City, who have not won in the league at Anfield since 2003, were the last team to beat Liverpool in the league

Guardiola, whose team are six points behind Liverpool ahead of next Sunday's game live on Sky Sports, praises the Reds' mentality after another late goal.

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"If it's one time, two times, 'we were lucky, we were lucky', but it happened in the last two seasons many, many times - they have a special character to do that," he said of Liverpool's late goals.

"We look at ourselves, we know which team we face, I think they have won 10 and drawn one. Next week we go to Anfield to try to play them."

'Pep's trying to distract Mane'

Reviewing Guardiola's comments, Daily Mirror chief football writer John Cross told the Sunday Supplement: "That reminds me of last season when he called Tottenham the 'Harry Kane team', just dropping it in there. Guardiola, I heard a few people saying it's because Liverpool have really got to him.

"I don't believe that for a second. He will still believe Man City can go and win the title. Pep Guardiola is a genius, but he's also got that in a locker. He's trying to get into the mindset of Klopp and wind up Mane.

"The whole issue is that he's trying to get into Mane, because he's so influential for Liverpool. If he can maybe distract Mane by even one per cent from his game, and take his focus off the match, that's it."

Analysis: Mane has become Liverpool's main man

Sky Sports' Nick Wright:

When a misfiring Mohamed Salah was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain midway through the second half at Villa Park, with Liverpool well below their best and trailing 1-0 to their well-organised opponents Aston Villa, it felt as though this might be the day their 27-game unbeaten run finally ended.

preview image 4:53
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Thanks to the match-winning heroics of Sadio Mane, however, Liverpool march on, their six-point cushion on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table intact and the feeling that they are heading towards something special significantly enhanced.

There were only three minutes of normal time remaining when Mane dug out the superb cross for Andrew Robertson's equaliser. Then, in the depths of injury time, with the clock ticking and with City having recovered from a goal down to beat Southampton at the Etihad Stadium, he headed home Trent Alexander-Arnold's corner to complete the turnaround.

He is fast becoming Liverpool's main man. Mane has now overtaken Salah for Premier League goals scored this season, with six to the Egyptian's five, but what's more significant is that those goals have won Liverpool eight points - twice as many as Salah's. Only Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has won more points for his side.

Read Saturday's Premier League hits and misses here.

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