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Mourinho: "It Is Beautiful to Play at Anfield"

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Liverpool will have to alter those words tomorrow and make the experience as ugly as possible for Mourinho.

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

This is José Mourinho who managed Chelsea twice and now manages Manchester United. His fierce rivalry with Rafa Benítez that veered into distasteful territory as usual when Mourinho doesn’t always get his way ensured he would never be a favourite of Liverpool fans. Who could forget his unbridled glee at derailing Liverpool’s title challenge in 2013/14 with that 2-0 victory at Anfield. Despite wanting to manage Liverpool in the past, he has become an enemy.

Nevertheless, Mourinho spoke about Anfield’s atmosphere. It’s clear that he wanted to send a message to his players that this is what they should be looking forward to, and that’s what any top manager should be doing: encouraging his players to view a potentially intimidating atmosphere as something to look forward to.

"This is quite funny for me because when people speak about big atmospheres it looks like we don't like them," Mourinho claimed ahead of a chance to pull ten points clear of Liverpool.

"It looks like it is a big problem for us to go a certain place and to face a big atmosphere. It is something that we want. It is something that if we could have in every match, we would have in every match.

"When Barcelona played against Las Palmas with an empty stadium, do you think the players were happy with that? Do you think the Las Palmas players wouldn't prefer to play in a Nou Camp that is full with a great atmosphere?

"You are speaking like Anfield like it is a big problem. It is a satisfaction. That is what we want. I have never seen a player to complain that 'oh this atmosphere was very strong'.

"We go to play against a big team with a big tradition, in an amazing stadium with great tradition. We know the fans have huge animosity against Manchester United historically but this is what we want.

"So we are very happy in our careers to have one more opportunity to play in these beautiful conditions. It is beautiful to play at Anfield. Beautiful."

Of course, Anfield is the type of stadium that can make words of anticipation and confidence feel hollow afterwards. The task for Jürgen Klopp and his players is to ensure that Mourinho joins the likes of Arsène Wenger and Julian Nagelsmann in finding an overpowering opponent backed by a vibrant Anfield crowd.