Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has been accused of deploying classic mind gams as he played down Liverpool’s supposed injury crisis as the two teams prepare to meet in a top-of-the-table Premier League clash at Anfield.
Liverpool are missing several first-team regulars for Wednesday’s meeting, including defensive colossus Virgil van Dijk, fellow central defender Joe Gomez, Spanish playmaker Thiago Alcantara and Portuguese forward Diogo Jota.
Defender Joel Matip is also a doubt, while Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner are also sidelined.
But with the exception of Van Dijk, who is out with a long-term knee injured suffered in the Merseyside derby in October, Mourinho said Liverpool’s absentees were not noteworthy.
“I think Alisson is not injured. [Trent] Alexander-Arnold is not injured. Matip, I believe that he is going to play. Fabinho is not injured. [Andrew] Robertson is not injured. [Jordan] Henderson is not injured. [Georginio] Wijnaldum is not injured. [Mohamed] Salah is not injured. [Roberto] Firmino is not injured. [Sadio] Mane is not injured. Van Dijk is injured, and Van Dijk is a very good player, of course,” said the Portuguese at a Tuesday press conference.
“Salah is not injured, Firmino is not injured, Mane is not injured…”Jose Mourinho has played down Liverpool’s injury issues – claiming every club goes through problems like this pic.twitter.com/nAkDMhMRJV
Spurs travel to Liverpool level with the reigning Premier League champions on 25 points from 12 games, but top of the table by virtue of goal difference.
The Portuguese added that Jurgen Klopp’s injury list was essentially no different from most other teams.
“Give me Liverpool’s list of injuries and compare that list of injuries with what is the best Liverpool team,” Mourinho said.
“I can give you a list of injuries at Tottenham. We have two kids of the under-16s with injuries, we have two others in the under-21s and we have three in the under-23s. We have [Erik] Lamela and [Japhet] Tanganga, and here you have a list of players.
“But is [Hugo] Lloris injured? No. [Toby] Alderweireld injured? No. [Eric] Dier injured? No. [Sergio] Reguilon injured? No. Harry Kane injured? No. [Heung-Min] Son injured? No. Lucas [Moura] injured? No.
“So where are the injuries? There are normal injuries, it’s normal. James Milner is injured, Lamela is injured, and every club now and again has injuries. Liverpool has a big injury, which is Van Dijk.”
Fans said the comments were “classic Mourinho” as he laid the mental ground for his touchline clash with Klopp, while Liverpool fans were quick to hit back by dragging up some of the Portuguese boss’s own comments on injury woes from down the years.
Classic Mourinho https://t.co/ugPuqZNhom
This is you?????? pic.twitter.com/Ll67njsgDB
Not every club loses their best two Centre backs, their best backup attacker (with loads of goals) and one of their best midfielders. Never mind the fact that Robbo, Trent etc have been injured but are back now
Mourinho is likely to be without Gareth Bale for the trip to Anfield, although the Welshman has failed to fire since returning to his old club on loan from Real Madrid, finding his game time limited as Spurs have become a renewed force.
“I don’t hide that we go there and our objective is to win,” Mourinho said of Wednesday’s clash.