Were Mourinho's tactics a compliment or insult to Liverpool?

Anfield Pitch

Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool was an apt demonstration of attack versus defence strategies but was the Blues' display a compliment to the Reds?

The Portuguese coach thumped his chest at the final whistle at Anfield, sparking outrage among the Merseyside giants’ following with manager Brendan Rodgers describing the Blues’ tactics as parking ‘two buses’.

This was not the first time this season Chelsea have set up to defend from the first whistle, but while the Blues’ game may not have been as expansive as Rodgers’ side, it was undoubtedly successful on the day.

Chelsea frustrated the Reds from the kick-off with 10 men behind the ball for much of the game. A counter-attack catching the Reds on the break ensured the visitors took all three points after captain Steven Gerrard’s unfortunate slip to gift the Blues their opener, blowing the Premier League title race wide open once again with just two games left to play.

Rodgers and his Liverpool side have the right to feel aggrieved; it was a miserable slip up, literally speaking, and one which now gives Manchester City the upper hand in the title race but while it may not come as a comfort to the Northern Irishman who has been an exemplary and progressive tactician this term, he can at least take Mourinho’s tactics as a compliment.

As the pundits on Match of the Day 2 discussed, Mourinho’s parking of the bus (or two buses even) with two solid and organised banks of four set up to defend and break up play for 90 minutes at Anfield is a mark of how afraid of Liverpool’s threat the Special One is.

The irony is, of course, that Mourinho criticised West Ham’s Sam Allardyce for deploying much the same strategy against the Blues earlier on this season but Mourinho’s hypocrisy in that instance is something Rodgers can take as an enormous compliment.

It may well not be pretty to watch, but it is the same approach opposition teams adopt when facing the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and the fact that Chelsea opted to take this approach only emphasises how threatening Rodgers and his Reds are to the Premier League and, next season, the continent.

If there is a lesson to be learned from this disappointing defeat, it’s that Liverpool scare the living daylights out of Jose Mourinho and, on another day, without the skipper’s slip, and with more defensive durability, Liverpool have the makings of becoming titans of Europe on a par with the most devastating attacking teams in world football.

Be afraid, be very afraid, is really what the Blues boss’ war cry called out to the Kop. Take it as a compliment and, above all else, get used to it.

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