Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho expects Liverpool to take extra motivation from the fact that the race for the Premier League title is yet open when both sides clash for the first time this season.
Their last visit to Merseyside ended in disappointments for Brendan Rodgers’ men, who were left ruing the effects of some uncanny slip and flops, following a 2-0 loss which Mourinho explained handed the title to Manchester City last term.
Going into Saturday lunchtime kickoff at Anfield, 12 points separate leaders Chelsea from seventh-placed ‘Kops’ after ten rounds of matches so far, with the former coming from a midweek draw against NK Maribor in Slovenia, a day after the latter had endured an encouraging narrow defeat at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernebeu.
“They have enough motivation from this season,” said the Portuguese boss. “They don’t need to go to last season and especially not for the bad memories. If I was in their position I would go back to last season for the good memories – for the victories they had and the good things they did – but it’s up to them.
“I expect a game when Liverpool know if they lose the game they are 15 points behind, and if they are 15 points behind in November, obviously it is not over but it is difficult.
“If they win the match, instead of 15 they are nine points behind and nine points behind is different from 15, and this is very good motivation for them, so I expect them to try everything to win.”
With the top-biller clash shrouded by a cloud of uncertainty before kickoff, the Blues will for sure go into the third international break of the season, which comes immediately after this weekend’s fixture, top of the league table given that they lead second-placed Southampton by four points.
Mourinho insists Chelsea’s impressive run in the ongoing campaign will survive Liverpool threats.
“Our intention is to win,” he stressed. “When we have the ball we want to try to score goals and when Liverpool have the ball we have to try to stop them scoring goals. This is the ABC of football. I’ve done this since I became a coach, and I’m going to do this until my last day.
“We went to Manchester City and Manchester United to win and for different reasons we couldn’t.
“We go to every match to win but when the season started we knew that in the first 11 matches we had to go to Man United, Man City and Liverpool. We knew we had the most difficult first matches of any team.
“We also played Arsenal at home so if after 11 matches we were mid-table because we lost three matches, it would be normal and acceptable. So tomorrow when we leave Anfield, we have left three of the most difficult stadiums to play in all season, so the points we’re getting, one here, one there, three here, three there – are all important.”
Diego Costa had not been called up to the Spanish squad for their forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Belarus and friendly with Germany, so the striker, 25, “is ready to start”.
“I’m pleased but I want to make it clear I did nothing for that to happen,” the manager said.
“After the match the plan is for Diego to have a period of complete rest – no training, no treatment – and just let him rest for a few days. After that he will continue the specific work he is doing without having a match to play.”
More of the all good news the 51-year-old boss had for reporters on Friday is that he has a full squad to choose from. Cesar Azpilicueta has completed his suspension while both John Obi Mikel and Loic Remy have recovered from knee and groin injuries respectively.
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Hakim Ziyech Reveals He Is Comfortable At Chelsea
Chelsea’s new star Hakim Ziyech has revealed that he is comfortable with the Blues after shining in a 4-1 win against Sheffield United on Saturday.
Ziyech completed a €40 million (£36m/$47m) move from Ajax Amsterdam over the summer, and after having been delayed at Stamford Bridge due to injury, the Moroccan forward made his full debut for the club in the UEFA Champions League clash against Krasnodar in October.
And after just four starts for the club, Ziyech now has two goals and three assists.
Frank Lampard’s men have in turn won all four games in which Ziyech has started and the atmosphere is quite conducive for the 27-year-old.
“I feel comfortable here in the team and with the squad and all my team-mates so I think that’s why I feel comfortable here,” he told Sky Sports when asked about adapting to life at Chelsea.
“I think we played a good game, the first 10 minutes was difficult – we started a bit sloppy but after 1-0 we could control the game and couldn’t score more goals at that point but we played a good game.”
“They come in with power on corners – you think they’ll put it in the box but they took it short and scored for 1-0 but after that we did well and created a lot of chances and scored a lot of goals.
“They like it when you play the ball to your feet and I saw Mateo Kovacic running into space – sometimes you have to get those balls then they don’t know what to do and then the first time we did that I scored.
“I always look at my team-mate before I take the ball, we understand, only eye contact is enough for us.”
Ziyech will now turn his attention to the national team, as Morocco prepare for the African Cup of Nations qualifier clash against the Central African Republic. The Atlas Lions currently lead their group with four points from two games.
Source: Sky Sports
Ahmed Musa Bids Farewell To Al Nassr Teammates, Fans
Nigerian international, Ahmed Musa took to his Twitter handle on Sunday to write a farewell message to his teammates, management and fans of Al Nassr.
Recall that last month the Saudi Arabian club in an official statement via it social media page announced that Musa will be departing the club after two years.
“Thank you Nigerian falcon, wishing you all the best in the future! @Ahmedmusa718,” the club said on their Twitter page.
Musa joined Al Nassr from EPL side Leicester City. During his stay, he made 50 appearances with nine goals to his name.
Musa in his tweet hailed everyone at the club for their love and support.
He wrote, “I want to say a very big thank you to my teammates, management & the entire Fans of @AlNassrFC Club for the great experience & unwavering support, love & care. It’s been a pleasure & I am extremely grateful. Best of luck @AlNassrFC.”
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