London: Jose Mourinho took a swipe at title rivals Liverpool as the Tottenham manager claimed the Premier League champions do not have an injury crisis.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will be without a host of injured stars including Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Diego Jota and Thiago Alcantara when leaders Tottenham face second placed Liverpool at Anfield on Wednesday.
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Xherdan Shaqiri, Kostas Tsimikas and James Milner are also sidelined for Liverpool, while Naby Keita and Joel Matip could miss out due to injury issues.
But Mourinho insisted Liverpool’s strongest team has not been affected because Netherlands centre-back Van Dijk is their only significant absentee.
“I think Alisson is not injured. Alexander-Arnold is not injured. Matip, I believe that he’s going to play. Fabinho is not injured. Robertson is not injured. Henderson is not injured. Wijnaldum is not injured. Salah is not injured, Firmino is not injured, Mane is not injured,” Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday.
“Van Dijk is injured and Van Dijk is a very good player of course. But give me a Liverpool list of injuries and compare that list with what is the best Liverpool team. I can give you a list of 10 injuries at Tottenham. We have two kids of the Under-16s with injuries, we have two others in the Under-21s and two in the Under-23s, we have Lamela and Tanganga. And here is a list of 10 players.
“But is Lloris injured? No. Alderweireld injured? No. Dier injured? No. Reguilon injured no? Harry Kane injured? No. Son injured? No. Lucas injured? No. So where are the injuries? Injuries are normal. James Milner is injured, Lamela is injured. You know. Every club has injuries now and again. Liverpool has a big injury which is Van Dijk.”
Tottenham are unbeaten in 11 Premier Leagues games since losing to Everton on the opening weekend of the season.
Chasing a first top-flight title since 1961, Tottenham sit above Liverpool on goal difference and must avoid defeat on Wednesday to retain pole position.
Klopp praised Mourinho for the work he has done at Tottenham since replacing Mauricio Pochettino last season.
The Liverpool boss said Mourinho had turned Tottenham into a “results machine”.
But Mourinho is adamant his side are still behind Liverpool in their development.
“Jurgen says that because if you look to our results this season, we lost one in the Premier League and we lost one in the Europa League so our results are very positive,” the Mourinho said. “But I think it’s too early, and the period of good results is about a few months and a results machine of course is much more than that.
“A result machine is what Liverpool has been for the past couple of years, a result machine was what my Chelsea was in the period we won the two consecutive titles. We are a good team that works hard but I would say Liverpool is the result of — if I’m not wrong 1,894 days of work with Jurgen — 1,894. If I’m wrong I’m wrong by a few days. We are the result of work of 390 days, but these 390 days are fake, because probably lots of these days were not even days of work but days of quarantine, days of being at home unable to work.
“So from almost 2,000 to 300. For us to be able to compete at the level we’re doing I can only give credit to the players and be very, very happy with what they’re doing.”
Tottenham are likely to be without Gareth Bale at Anfield as the Wales forward is suffering from an non-coronavirus related illness.
Arsenal v Southampton, 10pm
Leeds v Newcastle, 10pm
Leicester City v Everton, 10pm
Fulham v Brighton, 10pm
West Ham v Crystal Palace, 10pm
Liverpool v Tottenham, midnight
Aston Villa v Burnley, 10pm
Sheffield United v Manchester United, midnight