Saturday 24 February 2018

Liverpool revenge mission could bring down Jose Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Matt Law

Jose Mourinho's name may barely have been mentioned around Liverpool's Melwood training ground this week, but it sits in the back of the minds of a group of players still keen to exact revenge on the Chelsea manager.

The biggest motivation for Liverpool players now is to prove a point to new manager Jurgen Klopp in a big game. But if they beat Chelsea tomorrow, Mourinho will be fighting to save his job and few at Anfield will feel too much sympathy for the Portuguese, his assistant Rui Faria or the Blues squad.

Chelsea's victory at Anfield two seasons ago, when Steven Gerrard famously slipped to allow Demba Ba to open the scoring, led to Liverpool surrendering the title and put a cloud over the club.


A number of Reds players were also upset by the behaviour of Mourinho, who they felt took particular joy in their pain.

They remember Mourinho, unshaven and dressed in tracksuit and gilet, marching down the Anfield touchline with his arms aloft and beating his Chelsea badge after Willian netted the second goal of the 2-0 win in injury time.

While Gerrard, with whom Mourinho enjoyed a good relationship, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling have departed, there are eight players who played in that game still at Liverpool and six who should be in the match-day squad at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

One of those players is Martin Skrtel, who felt the full force of Diego Costa during the heated Capital One Cup clash between the teams last season and exchanged verbals with Mourinho on the touchline.

Do not expect the defender to pull out of any challenges. Emre Can was also the victim of a Costa stamp and the striker can expect a good few digs in his bruised ribs if, as expected, he is passed fit to play. Skrtel and Can were among the Liverpool players who had to form a guard on honour and clap Chelsea on to the pitch in May after Mourinho's team had wrapped up last season's title.

Other than Mourinho and Costa, Liverpool players have been annoyed by the Chelsea assistant coach Faria and his wind-up tactics, and constant complaints from the bench.

An Anfield source said: "There are a few players who would like to gain a bit of revenge on Mourinho and Chelsea, but it is Faria who is really disliked.

"He loves to get involved and act the hard man, but then he is usually hiding behind somebody or letting himself be restrained."

If Chelsea lose and Mourinho is dismissed, Faria will almost certainly go with him and the 40-year-old would not be missed by many outside Stamford Bridge after upsetting countless opponents.


One Liverpool player who bears no grudge towards Mourinho is Christian Benteke, who would be a Chelsea player now if the manager had got his way over the summer.

But the Chelsea board balked at the £32.5million release clause Aston Villa demanded must be triggered and the 24-year-old moved to Liverpool instead.

The failure to sign Benteke has already been costly for Chelsea, as Radamel Falcao, who joined on loan instead, has given little sign that he will regain anywhere near his best form.

Falcao is already thought to be keen to leave Chelsea in January and the Blues may be open to sanctioning his departure if they can find a more reliable replacement.

Thibaut Courtois, the Chelsea goalkeeper, is confident of returning to action at the start of December after he started running again. The Belgian has been out since undergoing surgery on his knee in September. Midfielder Ramires has signed a new contract running to 2019. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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