Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur host Liverpool on Thursday night and for the second time this season, it is deemed a huge match for both clubs.
When they met in December, both sides were flying high battling it out for top spot.
However, the tables have turned and the form book has been turned on it’s head, especially in the Reds case.
Jurgen Klopp side has just one win since December 19th in the Premier League.
As the debate surrounding whether Liverpool will be making a last minute addition to the defensive ranks rumbles on…
… the struggles on the field continue.
Prior to the enthralling 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday, the Champions had failed to find the net in four games.
Add to that a surprise defeat to Burnley saw their remarkable 68-match unbeaten home run shattered.
Ahead of the eagerly anticipated Premier League clash, Jose Mourinho addressed the press (via Football London.)
Mourinho on Van Dijk
You cannot replace Van Dijk
Liverpool lost their commanding centre-back to a season ending injury against Everton in the Merseyside derby.
One injury blow, followed soon after by another when Joe Gomez was sidelined for the foreseeable future.
As a result, this left a depleted defensive line-up for the Reds, something that has been well publicised.
Speaking on the issue, Jose Mourinho said: “You have to compensate with what you have and Liverpool, when you speak about Van Dijk, you cannot replace him.
“There are some players you cannot replace.“
As a result, Jurgen Klopp has had to experiment. He has done this by forcing Fabinho further back into the centre-back position.
Then delving into the youth system where we have seen Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips accompany the Brazilian this season.
Mourinho continued, “They have good players, they have experienced players. Fabinho, he can play everywhere.
“Everywhere. Matip back, experienced player.
The ever-reliable captain Jordan Henderson has been forced to play out of position, the Portuguese tactician added, “Jordan Henderson is another guy that with his experience and knowledge of the game, he can play everywhere too.“
Before he concluded, “Some players are really impossible to replace and you have to wait until they’re back and that’s what’s happening with Van Dijk.“
Relationship with Klopp
In the reverse fixture the two managerial counterparts had a public bust-up.
After Roberto Firmino headed home to snatch three points for beneath Mourinho nose, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
During the post match interviews, the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager claimed ‘the best team lost’ and directed his criticism at the German’s touchline antics as the two reignited their rivalry.
However, Mourinho seemed to cool down on the war of words between the two, “With Jurgen, it’s five minutes before or after the match,
He’s a colleague I respect, I don’t have any problems with him and I believe he’s the same with me. No problems at all.
Liverpool’s Recent Struggles
Liverpool’s winless run in the league could stretch to six if they fail to win on Thursday.
Worse yet, if they don’t manage to secure three points, they would lose further ground in their quest to retain the Premier League.
Time is running out for the Reds as Manchester City are beginning to find their groove and becoming a force like we’ve seen before.
Despite the poor run of form, the three-time Premier League winner failed to get sucked into overestimating the six-time Champions League winners, “Playing Liverpool is playing Liverpool, independent of all the context, independent of everything.
“I don’t feel it is an advantage and I don’t feel it is a disadvantage.” Mourinho concluded.