Jose Mourinho has insisted that Manchester United have notably improved since their 0-0 draw at Anfield this time last year.
Man United went into the clash with Jurgen Klopp’s side last season with just one win in four games and stopped the home side from carving out any clear-cut chances, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming closest to breaking the deadlock.
This time around, however, United head into the game as favourites having only dropped two points all season, while Liverpool are with only one win in seven.
And Mourinho, speaking at a press conference ahead of the trip to Anfield, noted that United have come a long way since last year.
“We’re in a better position in the table, I think we are playing better, you are more confident because when you have better results, you have more confidence to play than if not,” he said.
“It’s a very difficult match for us, and I think it’s a very difficult match for them.”
The Portuguese was able to realise that, with his team still in its very nascent stages of development, the best way of getting anything out of last year’s clash was to match the intensity of Liverpool’s pressing. But that was all they really did.
And he will expect much more tomorrow. United’s first port of call will indeed be to cancel out the home side’s intensity without the ball, making Ander Herrera‘s role vital, but they now have the nous – a collective understanding – needed to control passages of the game and put Liverpool’s creaky back four under pressure.
Make no mistake: Mourinho will want to take this game to Liverpool rather than the other way round.