Sadio Mane is not a diver, the coach of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp said while insisting that the striker always put his feet on the ground contrary to the belief of his critics.
The 28-year-old Senegal international has been under fire by critics who believed that he dived during a Premier League match between Liverpool and Southampton on Monday night.
In the match which ended 1-0 in favor of Southampton, Kyle Walker-Peters tackled Sadio Mane in the eighteen-yard box and Mane fell but the referee did not count it worthy enough to award a penalty.
Both the coach of Liverpool and his players appealed for a spot-kick but the decision which would have brought Liverpool level did not go in favor of the reigning Premier League champions. Hence, Southampton’s early goal lead courtesy of Danny Ings’ second-minute goal stood until the match ended.
That was not the only incident that got Jurgen Klopp angry after the match. The coach told the press that Liverpool were denied a penalty kick when a Southampton player, Jack Stephens, committed a handball offense in the box-eighteen.
Klopp who believes that the two incidences would have changed the course of the game stressed that if it was another club like Manchester United, they would have gotten spot-kicks for the two incidences.
“If anybody ever again will say Sadio Mane is a ‘diver’, it’s the biggest joke in the world,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “This boy tries to stay on his feet with all he has. In two situations… other teams will get a penalty for it, let me say it like this. Then the handball, I don’t know who will explain that to me.”
“We had a really good view of it [the Mane incident], and it looked like a clear penalty”, Klopp added. “I turned around to the fourth official and asked if it was going to be checked, he said it already had been and was not a penalty. That’s 100 percent true, and now someone wants to tell me how quick they had it in all these different angles.
“Last year, there was a penalty against Leicester when people said Sadio Mane goes down too easily – if he goes down easily, we would have had a penalty in this game and the last game, a stonewall penalty, but what Andre Marriner did with Sadio Mane I’m not sure if that’s okay.
“The boy tried everything, had a few great challenges with Walker-Peters, but there were a lot of situations which should have been free-kicks. The last one, when he goes down, you see that back and in the box, he hits him in the end with his left foot, that’s a penalty.
“We cannot change. I hear now that Manchester United had more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years. I’ve no idea if that’s my fault, or how that can happen.
“But it’s no excuse for the performance. We cannot change it, we have to respect the decisions. But we can change our performance. That’s our focus now.”
Sadio Mane still has three years left on his contract with Liverpool. Since he joined Liverpool from Southampton on July 1, 2016, for €41.20 million, he has been one of the most important players at the club.
So far this season, the left-winger has scored 6 league goals and provided 4 assists in 16 league games. He has made 23 appearances in all competitions scoring a total of 7 goals and providing 5 assists.