Chelsea v Liverpool: A tale of two coaches
Holly Thackeray | October 28, 2015
Intriguing sub-plots always abound when Chelsea and Liverpool square-up, as this fierce rivalry has been forged by familiarity, with these foes regularly being thrown together in fiery frays. And this first tussle of the term is no different.
In fact, the two top-flight teams have met an incredible 40 times over the last 11 terms across all competitions, with several scuffles memorably ending in controversy.
Yet, you could be forgiven for thinking this time the focus was less on the clubs and more on the coaches. There are several ongoing managerial narratives which could turn or define two careers in this clash, as Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp both find themselves thrust into the dangerous dugout limelight.
Mourinho under the microscope
The ‘Special One’ is an incredibly alien position. Not with his Chelsea future being on the rocks of course, which is certainly a familiar career path for the prickly and prideful Portuguese, but with his team in terrible from.
Bristly boss Mourinho is once again facing charges from the FA; has lost six games in all competitions across normal time, crashed out of the Capital One Cup on penalties to Stoke City, and is currently placing 15th in the Premier League. All of which would not be an appealing progress report to present to Roman Abramovich.
Surely on borrowed time, the Blues leader spoke following the shock League Cup exit, stating: “A few months ago I won a few matches and I was champion. People were saying there are things more important than results.
“Now, people say results are the most important thing. It’s a contradiction,” added the testy tactician.
Though Mourinho did defend his team, telling press: “What the players did tonight is face the people that write and say, ‘you are stupid’. You think the players did not give everything to win the game? That is really sad.”
Can the ‘Special One’ put Klopp and Liverpool curses to bed?
Mourinho (11/10 with Coral to be the next Premier League manager to clear out his locker) will need to overcome several obstacles to get back on track and potentially save his current post from becoming a vacancy, but history is for once not in his favour.
Liverpool have long been a banana skin for both Chelsea and Mourinho, with the Blues drawing four of their last eight battles against the Reds, and before that coming unstuck in several cup clashes. Notably successive Champions League exits occurred during Mourinho’s first Stamford Bridge stint, which arguably helped end his first tenure, and now the Anfield outfit could have a hand in another dugout demise.
The ‘Special One’ has similarly suffered against coaching peer Klopp, who he faced competitively four times with Real Madrid in 2012/13.
Mourinho easily came off worse, as Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund lost just once against the Spanish giants, crucially contributing to the Portuguese’s Bernabeu exit as they knocked Los Blancos out the Champions League last four.
Klopp keen to justify coaching change
German boss Klopp may currently be flavour of the month, but will know all too well how quickly things in football can change. After drawing three of his first four matches in charge of Liverpool, pressure is certainly on the new boss to prove his worth.
A maiden Premier League victory against champions Chelsea is fantastically priced at 3/1 to occur, and knocking Mourinho off his perch would be some statement of intent.
Read more on Jose Mourinho
Further articles can be found on Jurgen Klopp in our archive