Ahead of their crunch Premier League clash at the weekend, the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester City has jumped to a new level. While the supporters of the two clubs have developed a strong dislike of each other over the past couple of years, that has seemingly permeated into the teams themselves.
Despite having just finished a game of their own last Saturday, Pep Guardiola was quick to call out Liverpool in his post-match interview. Jurgen Klopp's side had just completed a 2-1 comeback victory at Villa Park, with Sadio Mane scoring a late winner.
He was also booked for diving in that game, having also won late penalties in wins over Leicester City and Spurs in recent weeks.
Guardiola said it was not a surprise that Mane had rescued a result for Liverpool, "because he is a special talent. Sometimes he’s diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute”.
The comments were not well received by Jurgen Klopp, but Graeme Souness believes they they are actually good news for Liverpool.
Speaking on Virgin Media Sport this evening, he said that the Spaniard's comments show that he is far too focused on the exploits of the Merseyside club.
"You're thinking too much about Mané and Liverpool, immediately after a game. I'd be encouraged by it if I was Liverpool."
Graeme Souness on Pep Guardiola's dive claims towards Sadio Mané.#UCL #VMSport pic.twitter.com/RS1xVxofDH
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) November 5, 2019
I'd be encouraged if I was in the Liverpool camp. I think so soon after City's game finished he talked about his own team, he immediately came out with his remarks regarding Mane.
You're thinking about Liverpool and Mane immediately after a game? I'd be encouraged by that if I was a Liverpool player or a member of their staff.
All you can do is just be concerned with your own lot. The oldest cliche is still relevant, all you can do is be concerned about the next game in front of you.
For Liverpool that's Genk. They'll have to start right and get them on the back foot, if they do that early they could have a comfortable night.
The City game will take care of itself on Sunday. There's going to be so much hype and interest in it that it will take care of itself. But that only happens after the 90 minutes you've played tonight.
That is sure to be a titanic clash and could go a long way to deciding the destination of this season's Premier League title. A win for Liverpool would move them nine points clear, while a victory for City puts them firmly back in the race.