Football

Jose Mourinho very intimidated by Liverpool: John Aldridge

Ex-Reds striker believes Spurs will set up defensively against Klopp's team

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge believes Jose Mourinho "is very intimidated by Liverpool".

He made the comments ahead of the English Premier League clash between Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

Aldridge, who won the league title and FA Cup with the Reds, wrote in the Liverpool Echo: "The way Spurs used to play under Mauricio Pochettino, you would have expected them to come out and have a go at us.

"But I can't see that happening under Jose Mourinho.

"When he played against Liverpool during his time at Manchester United, he was very defensive and I am sure they will try to soak up pressure and hit us on the break with Lucas Moura, Son Heung Min and Dele Alli.

"They will allow us to have possession and try to break them down, no doubt that is how Mourinho will play because I think he is very intimidated by Liverpool...

"Spurs are a good team and still have most of the players who got them to the Champions League final last season, but Liverpool are on a roll and are used to teams who 'park the bus'.

"I hope and expect us to keep our winning run going."

Mourinho, however, has previously suggested that Liverpool sometimes have problems against teams that defend deep.

Before taking the Spurs job last November, the Portuguese was a pundit on Sky Sports during the Reds' 1-1 draw with United in October.

It remains the only time Juergen Klopp's men have dropped points in the league this season, as the Red Devils defended deep and hit Liverpool on the counter.

Despite having just 32.1 per cent of possession, United had looked primed to end Liverpool's winning run, until Adam Lallana's equaliser five minutes from time.

Analysing the game, Mourinho said: "For me, (Liverpool lacked) quality as a team to play against a low block, which is a problem that sometimes they have. They have this fantastic record of so many victories - but apart from that, they have some limitations against teams that play with low blocks."

Sunday's game will be the first between Mourinho and Klopp since Manchester United dismissed the Portuguese after a 3-1 defeat at Anfield in December 2018.

Mourinho, who replaced the sacked Pochettino at Spurs, has only twice been on the winning side against Klopp in their 10 previous meetings.

To compound matters, Spurs will be without captain Harry Kane and influential midfielder Moussa Sissoko through injury.

Mourinho's famed ability to make his teams defensively sound has not yet manifested in north London.

ONE CLEAN SHEET

Under him, Spurs have kept just one clean sheet in 12 matches, conceding 19 goals.

Former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp defended Mourinho, saying he is no magician.

He told Sky Sports: "I can't see any other result besides Liverpool winning the title, but Tottenham away will be a tough game, make no mistake about that.

"Tottenham are going through a funny spell that's quite long when you look at it.

"The last 25 games with Poch in charge, the form was, for whatever reason, going along so well and suddenly that big run of bad form.

"Their form at the moment has been up and down. Jose has gone in there, we know his record is incredible, but no one's got a magic wand.

"At the moment, it seems to be the team just doesn't look right... but they'll raise their game for Liverpool at home.

"They'll want to break that Liverpool unbeaten run and it will be a tight game for sure - you wouldn't write Tottenham off, they've got outstanding players in the team."

One of the players the Reds might have to watch out for is Ryan Sessegnon.

The left-sided player has started Spurs' last four games after missing much of the season with injury, following his £25 million (S$44m) move from Fulham in the summer.

On what Mourinho expects from him, the 19-year-old told Sky Sports: "I think he wants to vary me in different positions.

"If I am playing at full-back or wing-back, he wants me to be aggressive off the ball - that's something I have been working on in my game.

"(He wants me to) be more positive on the ball as well. I've been a bit disappointed in myself, the way I have been playing recently.

"It's an honest assessment from me, looking back at it.

"I'm usually a very positive player with the ball, but the last few games I haven't exploited areas which I usually would."

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