Klopp offers a stout defence of Mourinho's credentials

Friends and foes - Klopp and Mourinho
Friends and foes - Klopp and Mourinho

Jose Mourinho's reputation has taken something of a battering in the last year or so, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes criticism of the Man Utd boss is misplaced.

Ahead of Monday night's enticing Premier League clash between Liverpool and United at Anfield, Mourinho has found an improbable vocal supporter in the shape of his German rival.

Some Liverpool fans may not be amused by Klopp's vocal backing for United chief Mourinho, but he spoke from the heart ahead of one of the most eagerly anticipated games of this season.

“He knows how successful football works,” stated Klopp. “To like or not like the way he plays, why should he care? Why should he care?

"He has won the Champions League more times than I have played in it. That’s how it is. How can I say who is on the way up and who is on the way down?

“I am not interested and absolutely not part of the group that says Jose Mourinho was or has been a good manager when he still is.

“He is a competitor. Without knowing him well, I know he will want to win this game.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson admits his club is still smarting from Mourinho's famous win at Anfield with his Chelsea team back in 2014, as he has vowed to take revenge on Monday night.

Liverpool were closing in on the Premier League title until Mourinho's Blues beat them in a game famous for Steven Gerrard's slip, leaving Henderson to admit the heartache of that occasions has yet to fade.

“I will never forget the Chelsea game at Anfield when we lost when we were going for the title,” Henderson told the Daily Mirror.

"Just the way that they came and played - it was very clever from Jose. At the time, we were on fire really and the way they played the game, very slow, sat in.

“I didn’t play, I was in the crowd, and it was difficult to watch. I was shouting at the ref to get things going a bit quicker.

“They made it very difficult - throw ins, goal kicks, they were taking forever and that got everyone worked up in the stadium.

“It worked to their advantage in the end because they got the result they came for and the one that had a big impact on us winning the league.

“I will never really forget that, so Monday night, it will be a big occasion if we can keep performing the way we have been and win, to sort of put that to bed.”