Jurgen Klopp has launched a coy response to Jose Mourinho’s claim that Liverpool will find next season harder with European football.
The Portuguese recently pointed out that both Liverpool and Chelsea, neither of which had to contend with European football last term, will find the travails of next season far more intense.
Manchester United played a mammoth 64 games last season on route to the Europa League final and, as a result, spent the last two months of the Premier League severely depleted – either through injuries or resting players.
But Klopp, speaking earlier this week, was in no mood to engage in a verbal battle with the 54-year-old. Sort of.
“I’m not interested in what Jose Mourinho says,” he said.
“Why should I talk about Manchester United? Jose is talking about us, yes. We had a season of what Man United had the year before. I don’t know if anybody asked us how it felt (then).
“The Europa League was hard. Yes, Chelsea will feel also the difference, they played something like 13 players last season. But it’s also not my problem if they use only 11, well done. I do not want to be part of this – I am not interested.”
Mourinho was a relatively muted figure when it came to talking about rival managers last season. He appeared more focused on his own side, seemingly bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders at some points, but perhaps there could be a change of tact next year.
He is already sending out warning shots to Klopp, making the first of hopefully many attempts to rattle Liverpool’s cage this season. And Mourinho has indeed evinced a nibble from the German: a mixture of ‘I’m not talking about this’ and ‘but just one thing, Jose!’
Perhaps he should heed Mourinho’s warning. Liverpool’s last European adventure, after all, corresponded with them finishing eighth in the Premier League.