Jose Mourinho relishing Manchester United's trip to handsome Anfield

Leigh Mccormick
October 15, 2017

"For sure, you could not play this way at Liverpool, but it's OK for Manchester United". Yes, you can get done on the counter but it was obvious United were here for a 0-0 and hoping to nick a goal from a set-piece or a counter-attack.

But United boss Mourinho insisted that, despite the long-standing history of animosity between the bitter rivals, his players should enjoy the opportunity to play in front of a packed Anfield crowd.

"You know, when Barcelona played against Las Palmas with an empty stadium, do you think the players were happy with that?"

They peppered United, who had 38% possession, with 20 shots but have won just once in eight matches in all competitions and have drawn the last three.

Mourinho has played down the added significance of this fixture between English football's two most successful clubs, but he will know first hand how important it really is, and his own personal rivalry with Liverpool from his days at Chelsea will only add spice to an already mouth-watering contest.

"It's quite hard when a top-class team like United has that defensive approach", said the German.

"I tried to react quickly and sometimes football is so quick", he told Sky Sports.

This was the first real test of United's title ambitions, following a start to the season that has seen them face the Premier League's also-rans.

Liverpool and Manchester United will renew their fierce rivalry today when Jose Mourinho's high-flying Red Devils travel to Anfield.

The United manager, however, was defiant about his tactics.

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"I had [Ander] Herrera and [Nemanja] Matic and no one on the bench to make a difference".

"When I brought on Jesse Lingard and Rashford I was waiting for him to bring on Daniel Sturridge or Dominic Solanke".

"And I have no midfielder to do what I do many, many times, which is to be with three strong midfielders and then give more freedom to all three attacking players".

"That midfield today was stronger than my midfielder". I drew matches where I was happy, I drew matches where I was not happy.

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool's performance was "not too bad".

Both sides are looking to make a big push for a title run this season with Manchester United now joint top of the Premier League.

"If you win, you can not leave Anfield like you won the Premier League, because you didn't, if you lose you can not leave Anfield like you are going to be relegated, because that is a big problem".

"If that was a Jurgen Klopp team in a different moment he would have made changes to the three midfielders".

The change never came.

Liverpool should have taken the lead on 35 minutes, though, as Firmino's cross found Joel Matip, but his shot was wonderfully saved by De Gea's feet and, after Jones partially cleared, Salah's effort from 15 yards narrowly evaded the far post. "If I say no, "you don't want to win something".

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