Not deterred by the fact that Chelsea weren’t even playing them, Jose Mourinho has had another go at Liverpool and BFF Rafa Benitez:
“The group is dangerous not because of Liverpool but because of Betis,” said Mourinho ahead of the clash in London.
Hardly the most damning of comments on paper, but the casual dismissal of Liverpool’s threat will irk many on Merseyside. Jose is clearly still bitter at the club for ending his European dreams via the goal-that-never-was. To add insult to injury, their amazing march to the Champions League title took much of the media spotlight he craved for his record-setting Chelsea side.
Benitez vs. Mourinho is just getting better and better as time goes on, their similarities only equalled by their differences. Both men are highly respected managers who earned their name by winning major trophies with unfavoured sides, Porto and Valencia. Hired by their clubs to help break up the Manchester United – Arsenal duopoly, they did exactly that in their first season as Chelsea won the Premiership and Liverpool took home the European Cup.
But a truly epic rivalry cannot grow from on-pitch action alone – and the two men could not be more different when faced with a room full of tabloid journos looking for a soundbyte.
Mourinho had already proven himself as a mind-game master long before he set foot on English soil. What really makes us sit up and take notice is the fact that the usually calm, soft-spoken, and generally lovable Benitez is so readily getting stuck in. After only one season’s worth of battles, a nerve has most definitely been struck with both men – and we can’t be alone in looking forward to seeing kind of verbal assaults and teary-eyed finger pointing that Ferguson vs. Wenger once provided.
What’s more, with the two clubs playing each other seemingly every other week we might even get to see one of them do a Keegan.