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‘Best in the Premier League Mane will make Guardiola regret dive jibe’ – Ex-Liverpool star surprised by Man City boss

9:07 AM GMT 05/11/2019
Pep Guardiola Sadio Mane Man City Liverpool
Former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy is expecting a Senegalese forward to make a rival pay for his comments in a top-of-the-table tie at Anfield

Sadio Mane is “the best player in the Premier League at the moment” and will make Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola regret his comments regarding diving, says former Liverpool star Danny Murphy.

The fuse has been lit ahead of a top-of-the-table clash at Anfield on Sunday as Guardiola has suggested that Reds forward Mane goes to ground a little too easily at times, with the Senegalese having been booked for simulation prior to netting a dramatic winner against Aston Villa in his most recent outing.

Jurgen Klopp has refused to be drawn into an argument with a rival coach, but has suggested that City should be focusing more on their own business ahead of a crunch encounter on Merseyside, with Liverpool holding a six-point advantage over the defending champions.

Mane has been crucial to their cause for some time now and Murphy believes questions of his actions will only make last season’s Golden Boot winner even more determined to make a positive impression against City.

The ex-Liverpool midfielder told talkSPORT: “I don’t think Pep went into [the press conference] with that in his head, I think he was just triggered by a question about the result at Villa Park and it’s just come out.

“In hindsight he might look back on that and think, ‘I wish I hadn’t said that’.

“If I was him, the last thing I’d want to do is wind up the best player in the Premier League at the moment and before you play him next week.

“Mane is playing incredibly well and if it does spur him on a little bit more, then why take the risk?

“I think we should emphasise that Mane’s form from the start of the season until now is the reason why Liverpool are six points clear.

“In certain games he’s carried them through. He’s been phenomenal.

“And his fitness and his durability, by the way, considering he played the whole summer and he rarely misses a game. He deserves great credit.

“Of course he goes down a bit too easily and too regularly, but he’s not the only one.”

Mane has netted 10 times in just 15 appearances for Liverpool this season, passing the 50-goal mark for the Reds in Premier League competition along the way.