Pep Guardiola lights fuse ahead of Anfield showdown by accusing Liverpool's Sadio Mane of diving

Manchester City manager says Mane is 'a special talent' ahead of top-of-the-table Premier League clash

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lit the blue-touch paper ahead of Sunday's top-of-the table clash against Liverpool by accusing the Reds' star forward Sadio Mane of diving.

Mane supplied the pass for Andrew Robertson's equaliser and then scored the winner in the fourth minute of injury time at Villa Park on Saturday, a result that kept Jurgen Klopp's side six points clear at the top.

The Senegalese was shown a yellow card in the first half for simulation and it was a point Guardiola was quick to pounce on when asked about Liverpool's win after his own side's win at home to Southampton.

"It has happened many times, what Liverpool have done, in the last few years, it's because [Mane] is a special talent.

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

Mane has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after earning two penalties - against Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur last month - with Liverpool converting each time to win both games.

City visit Anfield next Sunday, where they have failed to win in the league since 2003.

"If it's one time, two times, 'we were lucky, we were lucky', but it happened in the last two seasons many, many times - they have a special character to do that," Guardiola said of Liverpool's ability to score late goals.

"We look at ourselves, we know which team we face, I think they have won 10 and drawn one. Next week we go to Anfield to try to play them."

Guardiola may have to shuffle his pack for the trip to Merseyside with a Champions League fixture away to Atlanta sandwiched in between.

David Silva was replaced at half time in City's come-from-behind win at the Etihad, where goals from Sergio Aguero and Kyle Walker cancelled out James Ward-Prowse's 13th-minute opener.

The Catalan is already without defender Aymeric Laporte and winger Leroy Sane to long-term injuries, while Oleksandr Zinchenko, Rodri and Silva are all set for a spell on the sidelines too.