sadio mane liverpool

Guardiola accuses Mane of diving but admits Liverpool have ‘special character’

Pep Guardiola has admitted that Liverpool have a ‘special character’ following their dramatic late turnaround against Aston Villa, though has accused the league leaders of diving on occasion.

Villa took the lead in the first half through Trezeguet’s close-range strike, and held that lead until the 87th minute until Andy Robertson fired home a bullet header to bring the Reds level.

The Reds would, however, seal their 10th Premier League win of the season, Sadio Mane netting in the 94th minute to maintain their six-point lead over Man City at the top of the division.

Liverpool also netted a late equaliser against Manchester United two weeks ago, came from behind last weekend to beat Tottenham with a 75th-minute winner, and also scored late goals to take their midweek Carabao Cup tie against Arsenal to penalties.

Champions Man City also left it late to beat struggling Southampton, and speaking after their game, Pep Guardiola admitted Liverpool‘s late goals are a sign of their ‘special character’.

“We arrived in the locker room and it was 1-1 and after it was 1-2,” Guardiola told Match of the Day.

“When we won, Liverpool still didn’t win and at the end, again they won.

“What happened has happened not once, twice, it happened a lot of times – it is because it is a talent.

“So when they won many games in the last minutes, it is because they are a special character.

“The first season, when we won the treble, with 100 points, we won four or five games in the last minutes.”

Mane was booked for simulation during the first half of the win over Villa, though it was not the first time that the Senegalese forward has been accused of going down cheaply in search of a penalty this season.

Liverpool were awarded a 95th-minute spot-kick in the 2-1 win over Leicester last month, despite what looked to be a theatrical tumble by the Reds No.10 under the most minimal of contact. With Man City set to face Liverpool at Anfield next weekend, Guardiola referenced diving when discussing his rivals’ ability to win matches late on.

“Sometimes it is diving, sometimes it is this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute,” Guardiola added.

Klopp delighted with matchwinner Mane after crucial late win over Aston Villa

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