Friday 13 October 2017

Jurgen vs Jose: Poles apart but on the same mission

Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho have been in charge long enough to know that Saturday's  clash is more than just another game.

The intrinsic, deep-rooted rivalry between Britain's two most successful clubs is a lesson in hatred and history: we hate them, they hate us, rifts run deep and even the smallest of incidents are never forgotten. 

Yet the touchline battle will see a rivalry just as entertaining as anything that takes place on the pitch in front of the world.
The ebullient, warm and affable German takes on the prickly, purposeful and pragmatic Portuguese as two of the most charismatic bosses in the game go head-to-head.

Energetic and engaging, both men are leaders of clubs who share a storied rivalry and a tribal loathing. 
Polar opposite personalities they may be, but Messrs Klopp and Mourinho are united (pun intended) in a common cause: to bring back success to two giants of the English game who have seen others hit the front of the pecking order in recent years. 

United have started the season looking like the title contenders we hope to be and victory at Anfield would open up a ten-point gap on Klopp's side after seven games. 
That's a margin that looks insurmountable, even at this early stage, but the trip to Anfield presents unbeaten United with our first fixture of the season against heavyweight opponents.

City beat champions Chelsea on the own patch last time out and Jose's United are in need of a similar statement win here.
Defeat at Anfield would put our second season revival - after Mourinho's indifferent first campaign at the helm - under scrutiny.

Even during that transitional maiden campaign in charge, Jose led the team to three trophies.
Klopp, by contrast, has yet to win anything in his two years and comes into this clash under the first hint of pressure since he took over. 

Klopp and Mourinho will use different ways to get one over on each other on Saturday. 

Liverpool's manager is a lover of the high press: a breathless, all-action, counter-attacking "gegenpressing" style developed and fine tuned during his years at Dortmund.
Jose by contrast, is more conventional. 

He usually spends big on seasoned professionals and moulds a team on solid defensive organisation, prioritising clean sheets, points, ugly wins and trophies. 
He likes tall, quick, powerful players and employs a side full of specialists, with summer additions Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku prime examples of the classic Jose blueprint. 

For all their differences, Klopp and Mourinho are two successful, well-respected coaches who create strong team spirit and inspire loyalty and admiration. 

Win at Anfield and Jose's standing will be further enhanced, putting him and his opposite number even further apart and - for this season at least - on entirely different missions. 

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