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As if this match needed anymore drama, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have certainly provided it for English Premier League fans everywhere.
The top two teams will face off on Sunday at Anfield, with the powerhouse clubs at the top of the table. Liverpool of course are No. 1 with 31 points, while Manchester City are in second with its 25 points.
However, nothing says major rivalry like the two mangers exchanging blows ahead of a highly-anticipated showdown. This is exactly what we have between Klopp and Guardiola. It all started when Pep let a comment slip, and called out Liverpool’s Sadio Mane for being a ‘diver’ after he received a yellow card for going down against Aston Villa inside the box. A penalty was not called.
This, obviously, did not sit well with Mane, Klopp and the Liverpool supporters. The German manager responded to Guardiola’s claim the only way he knows how: with style.
"I couldn’t really believe it to be honest and then I saw it," Klopp said in a press conference earlier this week. "I am not sure if Pep spoke in that moment about Sadio or the team. Both is not too nice to be honest.
"I am not too sure if I want to put oil on the fire. I am not interested in these kinds of things. And I promise not to mention tactical fouls. That is maybe already too much, but that is the only thing I say about it.”
Tactical fouls? A subtle, yet clear shot by Klopp on Manchester City. Mane is one of the best players in the EPL. He shared the Golden Boot last season with Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after scoring 22 goals. Few can question his class with a straight face.
Pep’s comments sure were surprising and they only add even more excitement for Sunday’s showdown. Will Mane use it as motivation? Probably not, but should he score, Guardiola could end up regretting his words even more.