Murphy: Man City boss Guardiola may regret upsetting Mane

Liverpool fans celebrate their win over Aston Villa

Liverpool's lead at the top of the Premier League looked like it was going to be cut to four points until Sadio Mane's stoppage time goal

Jurgen Klopp has defended Sadio Mane after Pep Guardiola made headlines by openly accusing the forward of diving.

The Senegal worldwide was booked for simulation in the Reds' dramatic 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon, and it was not the first time he made headlines for going to ground easily.

Guardiola stoked tensions ahead of next weekend's top-of-the-table showdown with Liverpool by taking a swipe at the Senegal global for going to ground too easily.

10 Points Liverpool have won from losing positions this season, the most in the Premier League.

"Sometimes he is diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute".

Liverpool take on City on Sunday in a genuine six pointer.

"Sadio is not a diver".

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"I think the main thing is we have to keep doing the same things and it is hard for teams to keep defending as well as they do at the beginning if we keep playing like we do for the full 90 minutes".

Although the remarks appeared to be delivered at least partly in jest, Guardiola's comments are sure to whip up a storm in Mersyside, where there has been no shortage of bad blood between the two sides in recent years. I believe Guardiola genuinely fears the threat of Mane.

Despite the magnitude of Sunday's match at Anfield, Klopp has no concerns his players will be distracted against Genk.

"You would like to think that it is only precautionary", former City striker Paul Dickov said on Soccer Special. "I don't doubt my players at all. I'm not thinking of rotating my squad, I go game by game".

That said, the home side have conceded the opener in each of their last three Serie A games and lost 2-0 on their own patch at the weekend. No team has ever failed to progress from the Champions League group stage after winning their first three games. "We made it hard for ourselves", Klopp added. "We know it is always tough to come away in Europe". The Italians have also recorded just one win from their last five played, which included a 5-1 thumping at the Etihad. It's 100 per cent clear we have to put in a proper shift to get the win. The group is still open and we need everyone.

Zapata (6) and Muriel (8) have accounted for 14 league goals between them this term.

"They have super players, Sterling is very fast, so we'll have to be aggressive and very careful in the markings".

The African superstar who scored the stoppage-time victor against Villa has since been defended by Klopp - who couldn't resist having a dig of his own against his managerial rival.

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