Jurgen Klopp has ironically promised “not to mention tactical fouls” in response to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s recent comments regarding Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.
Guardiola ramped up tensions between the two teams ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash by accusing Mane going to ground too easily.
The Senegal forward was booked for simulation after going down under a challenge by Frederic Guilbert during Saturday’s game against Aston Villa.
Mane would go on to score a stoppage-time winner as Liverpool beat Villa 2-1 to maintain their six-point advantage over City, who themselves scored two late goals in a come-from-behind 2-1 win at home to Southampton.
Klopp has since defended Mane following Guardiola’s accusation, insisting that contact was made on the 27-year-old inside the box and he was “100 per cent sure” that City would call for a penalty in a similar situation.
The German was initially reluctant to speak further about his domestic title rivals but couldn’t resist having a dig at the City boss, suggesting the Premier League champions use tactical fouls to gain an advantage over their opponents.
“I am not sure if Pep spoke in that moment about Sadio or the team – both is not too nice to be honest,” Klopp told reporters at a news conference.
“Somebody showed it to me because I had to see it as everybody told me about it…I couldn’t really believe it to be honest. Then I saw it.
“I am not too sure if I want to put oil on the fire. I am not interested in these kind of things. And I promise not to mention tactical fouls.”
Both sides are in Champions League action in midweek ahead of their meeting at Anfield.
Liverpool take on Belgian side Genk on Tuesday while City can secure their place in the knockout stages with a victory away at Italian side Atalanta on Wednesday.