After an inappropriate pre-season dig backfired, Liverpool made Jose Mourinho eat his words.
Jose Mourinho couldn’t resist but participate in his customary mind games even before an ultimately meaningless pre-season match.
It’s been three years since the Portuguese foolishly targeted Liverpool in a friendly in Michigan, speaking ahead of his Manchester United team’s match against Liverpool.
The Reds had just completed one of their busiest summer transfer windows in recent memory, bringing in Fabinho, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Alisson Becker to a side that had previously fallen in the Champions League final.
And, according to Mourinho, this meant they deserved to be subjected to public scrutiny when the new campaign began.
“Perhaps this season you will finally demand that they win,” the astute former Porto and Chelsea manager told reporters.
Three days later, when United was thrashed 4-1 by their rivals in front of almost 100,000 spectators, Mourinho certainly felt justified in his stance.
He didn’t want to give the opposition any credit, preferring instead to openly chastise his own players.
He stated, “We are not playing here to better the squad, the dynamic, or our routines.”
“We’re just trying to stay alive and avoid some bad outcomes.
“We just have Alexis [Sanchez] as an attacking player. We don’t have wingers or strikers on our team. He’s the only one here, and he’s doing his best with the frustration of someone who wants more.”
Nonetheless, Liverpool had been thrown the gauntlet, having lost three cup finals in two and a half seasons under Jurgen Klopp.
If they were under pressure as a result of their trophy drought, it did not show in their performances.
The Reds had a fantastic start to the new season, finishing first in the Premier League and progressing past a difficult Champions League group before the year’s end.
They also emphasized their superiority against United in December, securing a 3-1 victory that saw Mourinho’s tenure come to an early end.
Any gratification derived from the sacking, on the other hand, would not have lasted long if Liverpool had not gone on to win the trophy they were told was a minimum expectation.
Thankfully, after missing out on the title, “The summary has come to an end.”