P’s An­field project

The Guardian - Sport - - Football - Jür­gen v José The record so far

some­thing sim­i­lar to Liver­pool’s most per­sua­sive ti­tle chal­lenge of the Premier League era, win­ning a deathly, bruis­ing game on the break.

Mour­inho is likely to pro­duce an­other well-laid, phys­i­cally ro­bust game of coun­ter­at­tack. An­field has both haunted and in­spired him since 2005 and the Cham­pi­ons League de­feat to a scram­bled Luis Gar­cía goal that Mour­inho still dis­putes. He has lost one Premier League game there since, win­ning three and draw­ing two, and al­ways ar­riv­ing a lit­tle more sand­pa­pery, a lit­tle more com­bat­ive.

To­mor­row United will have Phil Jones back and Romelu Lukaku up front de­spite an an­kle nig­gle. Marouane Fel­laini might have played if fit but Ne­manja Matic plus An­der Her­rera is still an en­er­getic mid­field. Mané’s ab­sence will prob­a­bly see Coutinho move into Liver­pool’s front three and Emre Can come into mid­field. Klopp will hope Can’s ex­hil­a­rat­ing long-range net-buster for Ger­many this week is an omen of some­thing sim­i­larly pen­e­tra­tive. No­body even re­sem­bling a cen­tre-for­ward has scored a league goal for Liver­pool since the 4-0 thrash­ing of Ar­se­nal in Au­gust.

United, for their part, have con­ceded just six goals in 14 matches go­ing back to the mid­dle of May, two of those to Real Madrid, one at home to Bur­ton in the EFL Cup. De­fences may or may not win ti­tles but they do of­ten close out the tight­est of games. At a sim­i­lar break in the sea­son last year An­to­nio Conte spent a few days brood­ing in Italy and re­cal­i­brated his own de­fence so dra­mat­i­cally Chelsea set off on an un­stop­pable spree. Klopp will have been des­per­ate to get his full squad back after the break and wreak some­thing sim­i­lar. With Tot­ten­ham away to follow next week, this al­ready looks like an un­usu­ally ur­gent meet­ing of city neigh­bours, of styles and per­son­al­i­ties, of press high and de­fend deep.

‘I may be the old­est man­ager there is,’ said Alec Stock, as he led Ful­ham to the 1975 FA Cup fi­nal at 58

The num­ber of times the two man­agers have met, with Klopp win­ning three games and Mour­inho hav­ing the up­per hand in one. Three games have been drawn Ma­jor tro­phies won by Mour­inho in his 17-year man­age­rial ca­reer, in­clud­ing two at United last sea­son. Klopp has picked up three in 16 years

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