Jose Mourinho has insisted that Manchester United’s clash with Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime is just “one more match”.
Man United travel to Merseyside as firm favourites having only dropped two points all season, while Jurgen Klopp’s men only have one win from seven games.
The trip to Anfield represents the first of a series of meetings against last season’s top four, with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur and a visit to Stamford Bridge coming over the next few weeks.
But Mourinho, speaking at a press conference ahead of the game, made it clear that, at this stage of the season, there were no ‘decisive’ encounters.
“It’s just one more match, could be the first, could be the eighth or ninth or the last one,” he said. “Probably if it was the last maybe it would decide something important but October for me is just another match.”
“I understand the tradition, the emotions around the supporters but I look at it in a professional way, what I try to tell my players from the beginning of the season is every match is important, there are no easy matches, there are no matches you prepare more carefully than others so if I try this mentality I am not going to say this match is more important than others.”
Mourinho is essentially correct when he says that this is just another game. Indeed, this is how a professional should view the seemingly ever-oscillating bonanza of a Premier League season. Getting caught up in the emotions and narratives spun on various blockbuster clashes never ends well.
But for us, the supporters, this game is absolutely everything. Nothing is more gut-wrenching than the build-up to an invariably anxiety-ridden 90 minutes away to, at least in my eyes, the team you want to avoid losing to more than anyone else.
For Liverpool fans, however, the feeling is worse for them this time around: defeat at home would see them drop ten points off United and further magnify the issues encircling Liverpool’s shaky start to the 2017/18 campaign.