London: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho enjoyed a typical moment of mischief on Friday when he suggested a “little injury” might deprive Liverpool of in-form striker Luis Suarez for Sunday’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking to the media, the Portuguese coach avoided any mention of Suarez’s controversial behaviour in the clubs’ last meeting, at Anfield in April, when he bit the arm of defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Instead, Mourinho said he hoped the free-scoring Uruguay striker — who was suspended for 10 matches for his dental attack — would not be available to play in the clash of the third and fourth-placed clubs.
“Maybe Suarez has got a little injury,” he said following Liverpool’s 1-2 defeat at Manchester City on Thursday. “I’m not asking for a big injury... Just a little injury to stop him playing for four days.”
Knowing that Suarez has scored 19 goals in 13 league games this season, Mourinho — who has bemoaned his own strikers’ profligacy this term — unsurprisingly avoided making comparisons.
His three main strikers — Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’ and Demba Ba — have scored only five times between them.
“Every game is hard,” he said. “The difference is some teams are bigger — bigger name, bigger impact... Man City-Liverpool, Chelsea-Liverpool, Chelsea-Arsenal...
“But every game is difficult. The last two matches we played (at home) to Swansea and Crystal Palace, the results were 1-0, 2-1. You have to give everything to win matches.”
He said Liverpool, managed by Brendan Rodgers who worked under him at Chelsea during Mourinho’s first stint in charge, had an edge by not being involved in European competition.
“Liverpool are on holiday this season. They have a big advantage because they have one week to prepare the match, then they play the match — because they are not involved in the heat of the knockout of the Champions League or even the Europa League,” the Portuguese said.
“The manager (Rodgers) is one of my best friends in the game. I have full respect for a team like Liverpool. He’s doing a fantastic job. He’s training every week in a calm way, training every day.”