Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Liverpool players will dive to win games – just days before the two teams meet at Anfield.
Speaking after City’s win 2-1 win over Southampton, Guardiola told BBC Match of the Day: “Sometimes it is diving, sometimes it is this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute.”
Mane was booked by referee Jonathan Moss in the first half on Saturday for simulation after falling inside the penalty area next to Villa defender Frederic Guilbert.
Liverpool were trailing 1-0 at the time but equalised through Andrew Robertson after 87 minutes before Senegal winger Mane’s dramatic 94th-minute winner.
City, who also came from 1-0 behind to beat Southampton 2-1, head to Liverpool six points behind the leaders.
City’s match finished several minutes before Liverpool’s game at Villa, and Guardiola added: “We arrived in the locker room and it was 1-1 and after it was 1-2.
“When we won, Liverpool still didn’t win and at the end, again they won.
“What happened has happened not once, twice, it happened a lot of times – it is because it is a talent.
“So when they won many games in the last minutes, it is because they are a special character.
“The first season, when we won the treble, with 100 points, we won four or five games in the last minutes.”
Last season Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock likened Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah to Olympic diver Tom Daley for the way the forward earned Liverpool a penalty against his side.
However Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who felt Mane was unfortunate to be booked on Saturday, has always rejected claims of diving by his players.
“We don’t have divers,” he told Sky Sports last year.