Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has hit back at Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash at Anfield.
The Dutch international claimed that the Spaniard’s comments calling Sadio Mane a diver were strange, and mentioned that the African winger was the first of the Reds’ players to be booked for play-acting.
Wijnaldum did admit that he hadn’t seen the incident which saw Mane pick up a yellow card against Aston Villa in their 2-1 win, but that VAR is there for a reason so there was no need to comment on the moment.
“I heard what he said,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“How many players of ours have had a yellow card for diving? Sadio was the first, I think? So to say that we are divers, I think it’s a little bit strange. That’s my opinion.”
Who would have thought it? That before one of the biggest games in the recent history of the Premier League, maybe even all time, both clubs would have been stuck in a debate over whether or not they dive. You would have thought that Guardiola had better things to think about in the build-up to the Anfield game, but it appears that Mane is his target in what could be some slight mind games towards the Reds and some of their star players. Jurgen Klopp did respond to the comments on his player, which could indicate that it had the required effect for the City boss, who will be looking for any kind of advantage before the feisty encounter. Wijnaldum is obviously trying to play it down and will be hoping that he and his side can do the talking on the pitch, and more importantly, extend their gap at the top of the Premier League to nine points already.