Liverpool are not lucky - Man City boss Guardiola explains Mane 'diving' comments
Pep Guardiola insisted he did not mean to suggest Sadio Mane is "this type of player" in relation to the diving row he triggered ahead of Manchester City's crunch trip to Liverpool this weekend.
Guardiola stoked pre-match tensions before Sunday's top-of-the-table clash at Anfield by accusing Liverpool forward Mane of simulation.
Mane was booked for diving during the Reds' dramatic 2-1 win at Aston Villa last Saturday, where he brilliantly headed home a stoppage-time winner.
The Senegal international also won decisive penalties during recent wins over Leicester City and Tottenham that helped to preserve Liverpool's six-point lead over champions City at the summit.
Speaking after his side's own 2-1 comeback win over Southampton on Saturday, Guardiola told BBC Match of the Day: "Sometimes he's diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute."
Klopp bridled at that suggestion on Monday when he spoke before Liverpool's Champions League match against Genk, going to allude to inferences made previously by Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Guardiola's City commit "tactical fouls".
The former Barcelona boss faced a news conference on the eve of City's Champions League match against Atalanta at San Siro – where a win coupled with a draw between Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk would see them seal top spot in Group C – and Mane, Klopp and Liverpool were predictably on the agenda.
"My son and my daughter, all the times, when Liverpool win in the last minutes, they ask me, 'How lucky, how lucky they are'. I said at the time, 'It's not lucky'," Guardiola explained.
"What Liverpool has done this season and last season many, many times is because they have this incredible quality and incredible talent to fight to the end. That's why I say to my players – not just my son and daughter – that is not lucky.
"If it happens once or twice, yes, but it happened maybe 10 or 12 or 14 times.
"Then in the 94th minute in the game Leicester, it was a penalty – wow, like this, like that [questionable]. That was the intention of my comment but far away from the intention to say Sadio Mane is this type of player because I admire him a lot.
"For Jurgen it is a penalty, for the referee it is a penalty, for the VAR it is a penalty. I was wrong as the guy to maybe think it was [not] a penalty.
"Like Jurgen said, he knows Sadio Mane better than me. Of course, I have an incredible respect. When he says he's not like this, he's not like that."
Guardiola also suggested the edited footage of his post-match interview made his comments appear more inflammatory than they were.
"My comments, the speech is not long on the BBC. It is longer than [what appeared] on all the highlights [saying that] that I am accusing. I know how interesting it is for all of you guys," he said.
"It was praise for Liverpool, to say it was not just one action and they are lucky again. Hopefully I can clarify everything with Jurgen too."
When Klopp's observation that the City manager was overly fixated with Liverpool was mentioned, Guardiola claimed he "didn't listen" to what his opposite number had said – although his next answer to a question about the allegations of tactical fouling bellied this.
"No comment. I don't put oil on the fire," he grinned in a direct quote of one of Klopp's Monday comments.