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Monday, April 28, 2014

From the ‘Special One’ Mourinho to the Hypocritical Bore-Rinho

Is putting 11 men behind the ball and hitting them on counterattack tactical ingenuity? Well, for Jose Mourinho, and perhaps a few of you reading this, it is.

The Portuguese manager endeared his name as a ‘tactical genius’ (to Chelsea fans) but earned even more odium in the eyes of lovers of the beautiful game (in literal sense) this past weekend. 

After frustrating Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final clash at the Vicente Calderon by ‘parking the bus’, Mourinho put Liverpool under the cosh by ‘parking two buses’ as Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers would put it after the match.

The 51-year-old fielded a first IX that was way too ultra-defensive, Mohammed Salah, Schurrle and Demba Ba the only attack minded players. But for most part of the game, only Ba crossed into the Liverpool half as all the 10 Chelsea players were behind the ball. 

When Sam Allardyce adopted that defensive playing plan (I still won’t call it a tactic) against Mourinho’s Chelsea in a barren draw in January this year, the Portuguese went on a tirade in the post match press briefing saying, “This is not Premier League. This is not the best league in the world. This is football from the 19th century.” What he set out his team to play at Anfield on Sunday evening must have been from two centuries earlier. 

After the Liverpool match, he said, “It was a defensive display? I'm a bit confused with what the media thinks about defensive displays. When a team defends well you call it defensive display.”

Totally hypocritical! 

His counterpart, Rodgers, said, “"I think there were two buses parked today, never mind one…It was like a back six with three midfield players in front of that. That's 10, with the goalkeeper, for 90 minutes consistently behind the ball.”

Enough said.

In the match against West Ham, the Hammers enjoyed over 27% of possession the whole 90 minutes. Chelsea had exactly 27% against Liverpool. And Mourinho dared to criticize them, but defend his team's win against Liverpool. Here's a manager who criticizes the opposition when they play in a manner he thinks doesn't level up to what football should be, and then employs almost the same, if not far worse game plan then thinks it is right.

Enough of Mou and back to the game.

Steven Gerrard is perhaps more pumped up to win the league than any other Liverpool player. The captain has played all his football at Liverpool and won everything there is except the Premier League title. This could be the season however when the Whiston-born lad finally lays his hands on the Holy Grail. He’s never been this close. But his mistake that led to Chelsea taking an undeserved lead might just prove too costly. With Liverpool launching one attack after another on the visitors, Gerrard (who under Brendan Rodgers has transformed from a lung bursting offensive midfielder to a deep lying one) made THE mistake of the game; he slipped, and just in time too, for Demba Ba to pounce and race into Liverpool’s penalty area and slot the ball under Simon Mignolet’s arms.

The goal was a bitter dent on Liverpool players who had a blue wall of players packed in front of them. That the Reds would lose 2-0 after committing all but one of their men forward later in the game which saw them get hit on a counter-attack was very cruel on a team that tried to play football the way it should be played.

Chelsea’s win puts them 2 points behind Liverpool but the Merseysiders still have destiny in their own hands heading into the last two games. Should they win the last two fixtures away to Crystal Palace and at home to Newcastle, the Reds will after all be crowned Premier League champions. However, that will also depend on Manchester City dropping points in their remaining three matches. One of those, perhaps the toughest one, is the trip to Goodison Park to face Liverpool's city rivals Everton. How the Reds who love the Toffees to do them a favor! After all, a trophy in Liverpool city is far more worthy to Everton than one at Manchester.

Will this season again be decided on goal difference? And will Manchester City be the celebrating lot again?

And That's thesteifmastertake!!