Jose Mourinho has assumed his usual stance of talking about Chelsea's Premier League rivals, stating once again that he believes Liverpool have a firm advantage over the Blues in the title race.
The Special One—following Chelsea's weekend win over Tottenham—hyped up Liverpool's chances, claiming they have the edge in the championship due to their reduced fixture programme.
Martin Lipton of the Mirror reports the Chelsea manager saying, "Liverpool, since the beginning of the season, have one match every week. They rest, they prepare, they recover, they prepare, they play, they have a day off. This is a big, big, big advantage."
However, in a separate article in the Mirror, Lipton references what he describes as "a coded attack on Luis Suarez."
Discussing Samuel Eto'o's controversial penalty won against Tottenham on Saturday, the Portuguese manager was quoted saying:
We had a big opportunity in the second minute of the game, when other players with other shirts would go for a penalty and a red card for the keeper.
[Eden] Hazard doesn’t do that. He tries to go away from the keeper and he misses from a difficult angle.
But other players in this league, in that situation, they attack the keeper. I did not see a video of Eto’o and the penalty but I want to.
But you know the kings of the penalties, you know where they are – and they’re not here.
Mourinho did not mention Liverpool or Suarez directly, but sports writer Kevin Palmer—like Lipton—interpreted his comments as being directed at the Merseysiders:
Mourinho is as famous as Sir Alex Ferguson when it comes to provoking opposition clubs, and this is a fine example of that approach once again.
He does have a point regarding Liverpool and penalties, though. Charles Perrin of the Express has previously written that they have won more penalties than any other team in Premier League history.
Mourinho knows it is his job to take the pressure off his own team and to place that expectation on others, and with Liverpool looking the most likely challengers in the Premier League, he has rightfully targeted them.
Will Liverpool win the Premier League this season?
Despite their history, Liverpool are the new kids on the block in terms of fighting for the title, and the Chelsea manager will play on this fact by referencing them whenever he gets the chance.
There is little doubt Eto'o's penalty against Spurs was not a foul, but the clever Blues boss has spun the event to land at the door of the Merseysiders and deflect the heat away from his striker.
If Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool are intelligent, they will leave Mourinho alone and not comment.
The club previously lost a title when former manager Rafa Benitez became wrapped up in a war of words with Ferguson and Manchester United, prompting his famous "facts" rant, which added extra pressure on his own players leading to an end-of-season collapse.
Rodgers needs to focus on winning, and not allow Mourinho to get inside his head as the Chelsea manager wishes to.
If he does this, Liverpool could well become champions in 2013-14 and prove all of their detractors wrong.