Jose Mourinho has taken a swipe at Liverpool following Manchester United’s 0-0 draw at Anfield on Monday night.
The visitors begun brightly, taking hold of a game that many expected to be instantly dominated by Jurgen Klopp’s side, but ultimately failed to take advantage of their early superiority.
Mourinho’s strategy was widely criticised after the game, with many labelling Man United’s approach as a standard example of the 53-year-old’s ‘anti-football’ style.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho pointed out that Liverpool – incessantly revered prior to the contest – failed to satisfy expectations.
“Last season United won here when Liverpool had 14 shots on target and United had one,” Mourinho said.
“How many shots on target did Liverpool have on target today? Two. Two shots on target with 65% of possession, you have to be critical of Liverpool. It is their problem, not our problem.
“You [the media] like to say they are the last wonder of the world in attacking football but they are also a team that defends and thinks defensively.”
The presence of ‘agendas’ is a growingly cancerous aspect of the modern game, and last night’s stalemate is a case in point. Mourinho’s history of implementing disciplined, meticulously structured game plans, often resulting in cagey, rigid affairs, has led to the emergence of an unwelcome stigma: that the 53-year-old is overly defensive, lacking in ambition and flair.
This is why Mourinho, and not Klopp, has been deemed responsible for last night’s drab affair. And yet, from a strictly objective point of view, one has to scrutinise Liverpool – Klopp’s Liverpool – as well.
Their performance, perhaps more so than Man United, was hallmarked by unambitious back-passes, misguided long-balls and a general failure to string more than three passes together. But since the man in their dugout is Klopp – a manager renowned for advocating fast, dynamic, enterprising football – the same levels of derision never go their way.