Football

Mourinho hits out at Klopp over Liverpool’s $160m signing of van Dijk

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, not one to pass up on a chance to return a jibe, got his opportunity yesterday when he opened fire at Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp.

Seventeen months ago, Klopp had criticised clubs that paid through the roof for players, after Manchester United forked out £89 million (S$160m) for France midfielder Paul Pogba in what was then a world-record fee.

EPL
MAN UNITED SOUTHAMPTON

This Wednesday, Liverpool announced the capture of Southampton centre back Virgil van Dijk for a reported figure of £75m, making the Dutchman the most expensive defender in the world.

At a media conference ahead of tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) match between United and Southampton, Mourinho urged the media to confront Klopp with his comments from July 2016.

Asked about van Dijk's move to Merseyside, he was quoted as saying on BBC: "The one to speak about it in a specific way has to be Juergen.

"If I were one of you, I would ask him about his comments about one year ago."

However, he also added that in the current transfer market climate, selling clubs hold all the aces.

He said: "The reality is if they think the player is the right player for them, they pay this amount or they don't have the player because that is the way the market is now.

MOURINHO THANKS LUKAKU

"Van Dijk is the most expensive defender in the history of football. Was he better than (Paolo) Maldini or (Rio) Ferdinand?

"You cannot say that, it is just the way the market is - pay or don't pay. No critics at all about what Liverpool did. It is just the way it is."

Mourinho also confirmed that under-fire striker Romelu Lukaku, whose recent performances have come under heavy criticism, will start against the Saints.

Defending the 24-year-old Belgium international, he said: "I have to be grateful to Romelu.

"For a striker in the English Premier League to play 20 matches, all 90 minutes, says a lot about his personality and character.

"He was in the picture in some of the last goals we conceded, but all is a consequence of a player who really needs a little rest."

Football