Philippe Coutinho

Getty Images

Jose Mourinho: I should cry every week about injuries

Leave a comment

For now, Jose Mourinho has taken the high road. So he says.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Speaking ahead of Manchester United’s trip to title contenders, and his former club, Chelsea, on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Mourinho believes his side would be getting more credit if he had complained more about recent injuries.

Despite United sitting second in the Premier League table 10 weeks into the season, his side have been heavily criticized for defensive displays in recent weeks.

Mourinho says he doesn’t complain about injuries as much as other managers and that’s probably why his team are getting plenty of criticism.

“It’s my fault because I should cry every week about our injuries and remind everybody, day after day or press conference after press conference,” Mourinho said. “So it’s my fault. It’s my decision. It’s my way of dealing with problems. It’s my way of trying to motivate and respect and give confidence to the players that are going to replace those people. But maybe I have to reconsider my profile. I know that I moan about a lot of things but I don’t with injuries and probably I should.

“I think any other manager would be speaking about Pogba every day. ‘Oh, I don’t have Pogba. Oh, when will I have Pogba? Oh, 10 matches without Pogba. Oh, all the Champions League group phase without Pogba. Oh, all the big matches, against Liverpool, against Chelsea, against Spurs without Pogba. Oh.’ I don’t speak about Pogba one single time. It’s only when you ask me about his situation. And it’s not just Pogba. It’s Pogba, it’s Fellaini, it’s Carrick, it’s Ibra, it’s Marcos Rojo. It’s a big group of players. So I think we are doing very, very well.”

Does he have a point?

Hmmm. This is a tough one. Mourinho has definitley mentioned injuries to Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini in previous press conferences. What about his rivals?

Manchester City have had to deal with a season-ending injury to Benjamin Mendy, Vincent Kompany out for most of the campaign and a few games without Sergio Aguero. Pep Guardiola‘s men have coped just fine but he has mentioned their absentees on a few occasions.

Chelsea have had multiple absentees across their squad this season (Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata and N'Golo Kante among them) and there have been a few rumblings from Antonio Conte during their up and down start to the campaign.

Liverpool have been missing Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne for all of the season so far, plus Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane have been out injured for spells. Jurgen Klopp has certainly pointed towards those injuries for some poor displays from the Reds.

The timing of these comments from Mourinho is somewhat expected.

Heading into the final international break of 2017, he knows the likes of Fellaini, Pogba, Rojo and even Ibrahimovic will return within the next few weeks. When they return to full fitness he can have no excuses.

Until then, he will keep reminding us just how good United were early in the season before they were struck by a raft of injuries he doesn’t want to talk about.

“I really think that you and the specialists know the football that we were playing at the beginning of the season,” Mourinho told the media. “You know. Now you pretend that you don’t know. Now you pretend that we never played amazing football, that we never scored lots of goals, that we never scored amazing goals. That we never had our midfield players and our defenders arriving in the opposition box and scoring goals and creating chances.

“I know that you know that. You just pretend, because it’s convenient for you to pretend that these things didn’t exist. But they exist. And we miss our players, of course we miss our players. And we have to play big matches without them, and we are probably going to play one more without them again.”

Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Liverpool

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Hammers 4-2-2 in last 8 vs. Reds
  • Liverpool won last tilt 4-0
  • Reds lead all-time 69W-37D-28L

Liverpool looks to build on a pair of clean sheets when it visits the London Stadium to face Slaven Bilic and desperate West Ham United on Saturday (Watch live at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds blanked Huddersfield Town last weekend before shutting out Maribor in the UEFA Champions League. West Ham has scored more freely than either opponent this season.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The Irons haven’t won in three-straight Premier League matches, but did pick up a significant League Cup win over Spurs last week. That win made a late concession to draw Crystal Palace on Saturday sting even more.

Klopp said Philippe Coutinho is out but Sadio Mane may be able to come off the bench. Georginio Wijnaldum could also make an appearance if need be.

What they’re saying

West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell on rebounding from Palace““We know it’s frustrating at times. If you’re a fan sitting there you can understand why and we certainly fully understand. We need to come together as one. We’ve been working hard week in and week out to put it right. We want to generate that atmosphere, against a team like Liverpool, and put it right.”

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp on who will take the next pen“I really understand it’s a big story but in the past it is not to change. We will never try to get penalties, but when we have them in future we will score from the penalty spot, 100 per cent. We only have to make sure [we are] not getting this story all over the season because it’s a good opportunity to score when you have a penalty. The boys are all able to do it. As I said, (Milner’s) penalty was really, really good, but it was a brilliant save and that’s something we have to respect as well.”

Prediction

If West Ham’s men are still playing for their boss, they stand a good chance at getting a point or better against a banged up Liverpool. If the effort’s there, the Hammers just may scoot away with a 2-1 win.

Klopp vs. “best friend” Wagner: I love nothing more than beating friends

Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
1 Comment

Jurgen Klopp is winless in three-straight Premier League matches, and now faces a Huddersfield Town team that did what his Liverpool could not.

The Terriers knocked off Manchester United last week, and now look to collect a second huge wall mount in Liverpool.

[ PL PREVIEW: Man Utd vs. Spurs ]

Adding to the intrigue is that Klopp’s very best friend, David Wagner, is the man leading Town’s charge up to the Premier League table.

From Sky Sports:

“It’s exciting. I’m really happy we are playing against each other in the Premier League. Nobody would have expected that 20 or 30 years ago. That makes it even nicer.

“When I was younger I played against my best friends all the time and I loved nothing more than winning against them. He is my best friend and we have a close relationship but that changes nothing about the game.”

The Reds drew Newcastle and Manchester United before last week’s 4-1 loss to Spurs.

We’d ticket Liverpool for a big win, even without Sadio Mane and possibly Philippe Coutinho, but there’s something to what Wagner may have planned for his close friend that has us keeping a skeptical eye on this one.

Follow @NicholasMendola

UEFA Champions League wrap: Tables turned on wild day

AP Photo/Paul White
Leave a comment

One clean sheet in eight Tuesday matches certainly helped the entertainment value of the UEFA Champions League, and the group ramifications follow suit.

Borussia Dortmund whiffed on a chance to take advantage of Real Madrid’s home draw versus Spurs, while Sevilla was waxed in Russia, and Besiktas continues to strut in UCL play.

Real Madrid 1-1 Tottenham HotspurRECAP, VIDEO

Raphael Varane’s plans to mark Harry Kane were subverted by the French defender’s unwitting legs, but Serge Aurier chopped down Toni Kroos in the 42nd minute for a yellow card and penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo sent beyond the reach of Spurs backstop Hugo Lloris.

It was Lloris’ outstanding day, along with a couple timely Keylor Navas saves, that kept the score line 1-1 after 90 minutes. The backstops will likely match wits again come Nov. 1 at Wembley Stadium.

Manchester City 2-1 NapoliRECAP

Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored in the ninth and 13th minutes as City has been an unwelcoming host for the Neapolitan side. Ederson stopped a Dries Mertens penalty, adding insult to Napoli’s twin concessions, but Napoli would get a second penalty kick and pulled back a goal courtesy of Amadou Diawara.

Monaco 1-2 Besiktas

Reported Newcastle United and Crystal Palace target Cenk Tosun scored a pair of goals as group-leading Besiktas came back to beat Monaco after Radamel Falcao made it 1-0 to the hosts.

Feyenoord 1-2 Shakhtar Donetsk

Similar story in the Netherlands, where Ex-Watford man Steven Berghuis gave the Eredivisie hosts a lead only to see a Bernard brace lead Shakhtar at De Kuip.

Spartak Moscow 5-1 Sevilla

Liverpool’s score line was a bit surprising, but this one raised eyebrows even given Sevilla’s long road (or flight path) to Russia. Quincy Promes scored twice to make Sevilla consider its Europa roots (though plenty of time remains in the group stage).

Spartak’s Luiz Adriano scores past Sevilla’s Sergio Rico (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Maribor 0-7 LiverpoolRECAP

Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds are sent their finishing demons off a cliff. It was 3-0 after 20 minutes, 4-0 at half, and when all was said and done there were braces for Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah to go with single markers from Philippe Coutinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

APOEL Nicosia 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

A significant step backward for BVB, who would’ve done well to take advantage of Real and Spurs drawing at the Bernabeu. The Germans even trailed for five second-half minutes before Sokratis Papastathopoulos provided the equalizing goal.

RB Leipzig 3-2 Porto

Five first half goals felt like the start of something special, but the upstart Germans held on through a scoreless second half to claim their first UCL win.

Maribor 0-7 Liverpool: Reds finally finish

AP Photo/Darko Bandic
Leave a comment

Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool has been frustrated on English soil, and let loose its misery on Maribor with a 7-0 win in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah nabbed braces, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Philippe Coutinho also scored for the Reds.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Liverpool finishes the day atop Group E thanks to Spartak Moscow’s blowout of visiting Sevilla.

The Reds took a 3-0 lead before the match was 20 minutes old, and led 4-0 at the break at Ljudski Vrt in Slovenia.