Gracious in defeat as ever he was, Jose Mourinho. The Spurs boss applauded Liverpool’s resolve, attacking intent and spirit to find a late winner…oh.
We shouldn’t be surprised of course – he’s been playing this game for years.
Spin a half-truth, leave out the bits which don’t help your argument, flat-out lie about something and hope nobody notices the fact your team didn’t have a touch in the attacking penalty box for an hour.
The Spurs boss tried every tactic in his hand-written book before and after the game, but the outcome is still the same: Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham. Three points and top spot for the Reds, none and a slip down the table for Spurs.
Here are all the fabrications and ridiculous assertions the Portuguese boss made in and around the game – and the actual truth of them! Enjoy a Jurgen Klopp-sized smile today, Reds.
Jose can’t count, part 1
The mind games started early, as Mourinho claimed Liverpool only had one “big injury” – that of Virgil van Dijk – and tried to equate “two kids from the under-16s with injuries, we have two others in the under-21s and you have three in the under-23s” with the senior options unavailable to Klopp.
The comparison of Milner and Lamela was accurate – see, there’s the half-truth sprinkled on top to distract from the lie – but referencing Japhet Tanganga’s injury would be more apt to be the same as if Rhys Williams was out, not if Joe Gomez faced a season-long absence.
Mourinho “believed” Matip was going to play, which was another injury, while he also decided the rest didn’t count while bringing in his back-up left-back Ben Davies and alternative midfield runner Gio Lo Celsio into the side.
We know how many injuries we’ve got, Jose, and it’s not one.
Jose can’t count, part 2
After the game it was put to Mourinho by Amazon that they had a squad which was recently in the Champions League final, so could reasonably expect to be competing at the top end of the table.
A distraught Mourinho lamentably shook his head and held up his hand, fingers outstretched. “Five. Only five.”
Five of his team in the final? Let’s assess.
Here are the Spurs starting XI and subs who came on that night in Madrid: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Sissoko, Winks, Alli, Eriksen, Kane, Dier, Moura, Llorente.
By our reckoning that’s eight who featured last night at Anfield and one more (Winks) who was on the bench unused.
Oh, and Aurier and Davies were subs in Madrid and played at Anfield, while Davinson Sanchez and Lamela were subs in 2019 too.
So 10 involved from the final, and a couple of extras in the squad. Nearly five though, Jose.
Trying to get Lo Celso sent-off
Apparently, the Liverpool bench’s second-half focus was not on the youngster at the back, nor the team’s tactical approach in search of the win, but in trying to get Spurs’ peripheral man Gio Lo Celso a red card.
So said Jose, of course.
“With this yellow card and the behaviour of these guys they have on the touchline, putting incredible pressure on referees, I feared for a possible second yellow card.
“And Gio was playing exactly in front of their bench in an area that very dangerous. So I was afraid of the yellow card and I had to take him off.”
Well, they’d have their work cut out if so. Lo Celso had 33 touches of the ball, fewer than every player on the pitch other than Bergwijn, Son and Alisson, and he made precisely two tackles in the game, one of which was a foul.
Spurs also made more fouls overall than Liverpool, while most of those awarded against the Reds went against Sadio Mane specifically – and definitely didn’t look like fouls.
Jose’s own team would never stoop to such standards of trying to get the opposition reduced to 10 men.
Klopp’s touchline behaviour
Next up came the complaints of Jurgen being too “animated” on the sidelines, with Mourinho saying “If I behaved the same, I’ve no chance to stay there, I’m out one minute after.”
Poor Mourinho and his perfect behaviour in the technical area being picked on.
Jurgen had a decent response though.
“It was not heated at all. He wasn’t happy because he told me the better team lost – and I thought he was joking. But he wasn’t. So that’s it.”
The best team lost
Yeah, about that. A draw would have been devastating for Spurs, said the boss, as they entirely deserved the points.
He pointed to Bergwijn hitting the post, but ignored Mane striking the bar. He noted Kane’s header over, but ignored Firmino’s header being saved. He pointed out his own tactical wizardry in switching to a 4-4-2, but ignored the fact it didn’t work and his team lost.
So here are a few to finish on:
76 per cent possession to 24. 17 shots to eight. 11 on target to two. Seven corners to four. And three points to nil.
The best team won. The best team are top. The best team are champions.