Mourinho disputes Liverpool injury crisis ahead of Anfield visit

Spurs manager says Virgil van Dijk the only ‘big injury’ for Jürgen Klopp's side

 Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho   refused to say that Spurs are in title contention despite their impressive start. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho refused to say that Spurs are in title contention despite their impressive start. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire

 

José Mourinho has made it clear that he does not believe Liverpool will be undermined by injuries when Tottenham visit Anfield on Wednesday as he sought to pin the pressure on the defending Premier League champions.

The Spurs manager highlighted how Jürgen Klopp had been in charge at Liverpool since October 2015 whereas he had taken over in north London only in November of last year. In other words, Klopp has had time to build, to mould Liverpool precisely as he has wanted, and expectations should be adjusted accordingly.

Mourinho took aim at Klopp over injuries, disputing the perception that Liverpool are in the throes of an injury crisis. Klopp has lost Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long-term problems and his other recognised senior centre-half, Joël Matip, was forced off in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Fulham. Matip faces a fitness test.

Liverpool have other players out, including James Milner, Thiago Alcântara and Diogo Jota, but Mourinho suggested the situation boiled down to missing only one first-choice player in Van Dijk.

Damaged

“Alexander-Arnold is not injured,” Mourinho said. “Matip . . . I believe that he is going to play. Fabinho is not injured. Robertson is not injured. Henderson is not injured. Wijnaldum is not injured. Salah is not injured. Firmino is not injured. Mané is not injured. Van Dijk is injured and Van Dijk is a very good player, of course. But give me Liverpool’s list of injuries and compare that list of injuries with what is the best Liverpool team and then . . . ”

Mourinho reported that Japhet Tanganga had damaged his shoulder against Antwerp last Thursday and would be out for a few weeks and Érik Lamela (foot) was still unavailable. Gareth Bale (illness) is a doubt. He added that the club had additional injuries in their youth ranks.

“But is Lloris injured? No,” Mourinho continued. “Alderweireld injured? No. Dier injured? No. Reguilón injured? No. Harry Kane injured? No. Son injured? No. Lucas injured? No. So where are the injuries [in terms of regular starters]? It’s normal there are injuries. James Milner is injured. Lamela is injured. Every club has now and again injuries. Liverpool has a big injury which is Van Dijk.”

Mourinho refuses to say that Spurs are in title contention despite their impressive start, which has seen them lose only once in the league – on the opening weekend against Everton. Far better to focus on teams such as Liverpool, he implied, who have built their reputation over a greater period of time.

Results

“Our period of good results is about a few months and a results machine is, of course, much more than that,” Mourinho said. “A results machine is what Liverpool has been for the past couple of years, what my Chelsea was in the period we won the two consecutive titles.

“We are a good team that works hard but Liverpool is the result of, if I’m not wrong, 1,894 days of work with Jürgen. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong for a few days. And we are the work of 390 days. But these 390 days are fake because lots of these days were not even days of work – they were days of quarantine, being at home unable to work. So from almost 2,000 to 300, for us to be able to compete at the level we are doing, I can only give credit to the players and be very happy with what they are doing.

“We don’t have to make any statement [at Anfield]. We just want to play a game and win it. And if we don’t win it and the responsibility of that is Liverpool’s responsibility then great. On Thursday morning we will be here and on Sunday we will be playing again [against Leicester] to win again. It’s not a statement, it’s just a match. But I don’t hide that we go there and our objective is to win.”

– Guardian

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