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Reds vs Spurs: Mouthwatering clash awaits fans on Wednesday

December 15, 2020 21:06 IST
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Klopp impressed with Mourinho turning Spurs into 'results machine'

Jose Mourinho's Spurs have the best defensive record in the league and are ahead of reigning champions Liverpool on goal difference

IMAGE: Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp greets Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho. Mourinho's Spurs have the best defensive record in the league and are ahead of reigning champions Liverpool on goal difference. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Jose Mourinho has proven he has risen above criticism and bounced back to stake his claim as being a top manager after guiding Tottenham Hotspur to the Premier League summit, Liverpool's Juergen Klopp said on Tuesday.

Mourinho's Spurs have the best defensive record in the league and are ahead of reigning champions Liverpool on goal difference going into Wednesday's top-of-the-table clash at Anfield.

Although Spurs have been accused of being a defensive, counter-attacking team, Klopp said there was more to their game than meets the eye and drew similarities with his own side.

"He (Mourinho) showed obviously some comeback skills, if it was that. Very impressive, what he has done at Tottenham," Klopp told reporters.

 

"The way they play this year is really good, he turned them into a results-machine... Counter-attack is not their only strategy, they are a proper footballing side.

"Harry Kane drops (deep) in a way Roberto Firmino has done. Quick wingers... A very offensive midfielder in (Tanguy) Ndombele, then very strong midfielders behind. That is football, you cannot be top of the league with only counter-attacking."

Klopp is wary of Spurs' goalscoring duo of Son Heung-min and Kane -- who have a combined 19 goals and 14 assists in the league -- but pointed out they were not the only threats in the side.

"Unfortunately, if we keep them (Son and Kane) quiet, they are still a lot of really good players... with threats from a lot of areas on the pitch," Klopp added.

"(Steven) Bergwijn plays an important role in counter-attacking moments. Ndombele needed a bit longer to settle at Tottenham, but he's now 100% there.

"(Giovani) Lo Celso, (Moussa) Sissoko, (Pierre-Emile) Hojbjerg - a proper unit in midfield. It works well together... And Gareth Bale being fit again is another threat."

Klopp said defender Joel Matip was a doubt for the clash due to back spasms while he will take a late call on midfielder Naby Keita.

Mourinho plays down Spurs expectations

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho says he needs more time to build a team capable of challenging for the Premier League title, comparing the exact number of days Juergen Klopp has been in charge of defending champions Liverpool to his own tenure.

League leaders Spurs are unbeaten in the competition this season since their defeat by Everton on the opening weekend and visit Liverpool on Wednesday for top-of-the-table clash at Anfield.

Klopp called Spurs a "result machine" in his pre-match news conference but Mourinho is not getting carried away just yet.

"Result machine is what Liverpool has been for the past couple of years and what my Chelsea team was in the period we won the two consecutive titles," Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday.

"We're a good team that works hard but I would say Liverpool is the result of if I'm not wrong -- 1,894 days of work with Juergen. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong by a few days.

"We're the result of work of 390 days but these 390 days are fake. Because a lot of these days were not even days of work but of quarantine and days at home."

Mourinho is also not buying that Liverpool are suffering an injury crisis, claiming Klopp is just contending with one massive loss with the long-term absence of centre back Virgil van Dijk.

"Van Dijk is injured and he is a very good player of course, but give me Liverpool's list of injuries and compare with a list of Liverpool's best team," said Mourinho.

"I can give you a list of 10 injuries at Tottenham."

Mourinho said forward Gareth Bale is unlikely to be fit for the Anfield trip, while defender Japhet Tanganga is out with a shoulder injury.

 

 

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