Jose Mourinho “loves nothing better than to upset Liverpool” but would secretly have loved the opportunity to take over at Anfield, claims Phil Thompson.
The Portuguese is preparing for a reunion with old adversaries at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday. Having previously faced the Reds during stints at Chelsea and Manchester United, Mourinho is now calling the shots at Spurs.
He will get the opportunity this weekend to inflict a first Premier League defeat of 2019-20 on Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp’s side marching their way towards a first title triumph in 30 years.
Former Reds star Thompson says Mourinho will be relishing the chance to get one over on the current holders of the Champions League crown, as he has done on numerous occasions in the past, but will also be ruing the fact that he has never been given the opportunity to head for Merseyside.
“Jose loves nothing better than to upset Liverpool, Liverpool fans,” ex-Reds captain Thompson told Sky Sports.
“This will be another opportunity for him. I think it’s one of those big things that deep down, he would really have loved to have managed Liverpool, so when it comes down to it he wants to beat us, and do his utmost to put one over on us.
“That’ll give him another opportunity this weekend. What will he do? How will he set up? Has he got the players to defend deep? Has he got the players to attack?
“This is a Spurs side who are expected to win games playing a certain way, but sometimes Jose would rather sit back and hit on the counter-attack, and have a low block.”
The appeal of Liverpool to Mourinho, or any other coach, is clear for all to see, with Klopp having turned the Reds into kings of Europe, the world and potentially English football.
Thompson is delighted to see former glories being recaptured at Anfield, but says the class of 2019-20 cannot be considered “greats” just yet and still have much to achieve over the coming years.
He added: “Greatness comes from doing this on a regular basis. Klopp’s broken that duck and it just happened to be against Tottenham, who they play this weekend.
“You look at what Liverpool did last season, getting 97 points and not even winning the title, we didn’t do anything like that to win the league. But if this team are going to be one of the greats, and bring it back after 30 years of hurt, it’ll be a most wonderful thing – but then they need to keep on doing it.
“Everyone always says ‘back in the heyday’, but no, we didn’t do that. This team is quite extraordinary. The clean sheets they’re keeping, the goals they’re scoring, everything. There are so many good things about this team and they just have to keep the focus now.
“But it’s not done. No trophy has ever been given out at the beginning of January.”
Liverpool, who have gone 12 months without losing in Premier League competition, have opened up a commanding 13-point advantage over the title-chasing pack while also boasting a game in hand.