After Chelsea played Athletico Madrid in the Champions League Jose Mourinho decided to play his mind games. He knows exactly what he’s doing and came out to the whole world and declared the second leg of the Champions League semi-final was his priority and he would rest key players at Anfield.
Jose Mourinho is the king of hype and predictably the press went crazy – Manchester City were reportedly “unhappy” at this revelation and it was the most talked about football topic for the last few days. And as expected, Liverpool didn’t know what was going on.
Mourinho’s aim was to give something to think about and that is exactly what happened. Another aim was to put all the pressure on Liverpool and remove any expectations on his Chelsea side. After all, Liverpool only needed a draw remember.
The Chelsea manager was fooling nobody with rhetoric about “not caring about the Premier League” but it was making headlines and getting press. We all know Mourinho is a winner and his record against the top sides is almost perfect.
The line up Chelsea started with was missing some big players, but they have a strong squad and predictably parked the bus. The reasons for this were twofold; it allowed Chelsea to ensure they got a result and it also justified his “weakened” selection.
Jose Mourinho clearly got to Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers because the complaints after the game were that “Chelsea parked two buses”, “Liverpool try to play football the right way” and “Chelsea were time-wasting”. All true and valid points, but the bottom line was Liverpool only needed a draw. All the hype surrounding Mourinho obviously got to Liverpool because they tried to win the game, and that was their downfall.
If you only need a point and Chelsea are “parking two buses” and clearly setup for the counter-attack, then surely playing out a dull-as-dish-water draw would have done? Chelsea posed no real attacking threat (the first goal was a mistake and the second on the break when Liverpool threw everyone forward) so why play into their hands? Liverpool’s fantastic recent run went to their heads and they believed their own hype.
If Chelsea only needed a draw and were playing at home you can bet your house that he wouldn’t have approached the game the same way Brendan Rodgers did.
The result of all this is that Liverpool no longer have the title in their own hands.