The media, always happy to stir the controversy pot, were beside themselves with excitement when Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp seemingly made a hypocrite of himself, splashing the cash—not once, but twice—smashing the world record fees for a defender and a goalkeeper. Transfer fee inflation and net spend be damned, oh, we’re going to get ol’ Kloppo!
And then Klopp failed to take the bait, laughing at the situation and his “change of mind.” Damn. So the media turned to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, who in turn, only had positive things to say.
But they had an ace up their sleeve. Step right up, former Chelsea boss, and current Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho.
“I’m also happy to smile and to see that, you know, you can change your opinion, and change as a person. It’s funny,” Mourinho replied in a post-match presser, the sarcasm laid on so thick that you need rubber boots to wade through it.
Mourinho, of course, only experiences pure joy when others are failing, so he took the opportunity to ratchet up media pressure on Liverpool. You see, Mourinho plays the long-game, knowing how good it will feel if Liverpool come up short for silverware again this season, whilst he is battling Arsenal for fourth this season.
“Maybe this season finally you demand that they win,” he said to the media, “I think you have to be fair and now you have to demand [they win the Premier league].
“You have to say the team, with the investments you are making last season, that you made in January, that you make now, because that will probably be the record for the Premier League this season, I can’t see anyone else getting close to spending what they have.
“A team that was a finalist in the Champions League, you have to say you are a big candidate, you have to win.”
Of course, Mourinho is intentionally obfuscating the reality behind the matter of spending and investing in the squad. Since 2014/15, both Manchester clubs have spent over £500 million net, compared to a (relatively) scant £178 million for Liverpool’s finest. That gulf in spending, and therefore talent throughout the squad (margin of error: +/- 1 Marouane Fellaini), cannot be erased by four marquee signings (two of which were solid deals in the current market).
But sure, Liverpool spent sort of big for Liverpool one year (ignoring the £142 million Philippe Coutinho windfall, of course!) so they must automatically be title contenders, and not scrappy underdogs making the most of smart transfers (e.g. Andy Robertson), academy starlets (e.g. Trent Alexander-Arnold), former Premier League flops (e.g. Mohamed Salah), and a team philosophy instilled by one of the best managers in the game.
You keep doing you, Jose Mourinho. We’ll be over here watching boss footy and singing “Allez, allez, allez” until our throats are sore. And then we’ll sing some more.