José Mourinho insists there will be no repeat of Chelsea’s ultra-defensive game?plan when the Premier League leaders return to the scene of their smash and grab raid at Liverpool today.
Mourinho’s side ruined Liverpool’s bid to win their first English league title for 24 years with a 2-0 win at Anfield towards the end of last season.
The Blues delivered a masterclass in the art of frustrating an opponent and their cautious game?plan paid dividends when Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip gifted Demba Ba the opening goal.
Liverpool were so vexed by Mourinho’s tactics that boss Brendan Rodgers accused him of ‘parking two buses’ in front of Chelsea’s goal.
But, while last season Chelsea went into the fixture as underdogs due to Liverpool’s superb form at the time, Mourinho and company return to Merseyside with a more positive agenda as they look to extend their unbeaten start to the season by capitalising on the Reds’ recent struggles.
“Our intention is to win. Our intention is when we have the ball we want to try to score goals and when Liverpool have the ball we have to try to stop them from scoring,” Mourinho said.
“Sometimes some people pretend to be clever but this is the ABC of football.
“I did this since I am a coach and I’m going to do this till my last day.”
Aiding Mourinho’s pledge to go on the attack is the availability of injury-plagued Diego Costa, who will start at Anfield even though the Spain striker will miss his country’s Euro 2016 qualifying match with Belarus and friendly with Germany later this month.
Mourinho will play Costa, scorer of nine goals in eight league games, before enforcing rest to allow him to recover from his persistent hamstring problems.
Meanwhile, Rodgers insists there is no chance Gerrard will crack under pressure when the Liverpool midfielder bids for redemption after his disastrous slip last term.
The 34-year-old has been well below his best since that agonising mistake and his spluttering campaign suffered another blow on Tuesday when he was restricted to a 20-minute substitute appearance in the 1-0 Champions League loss at Real Madrid.
But Rodgers said: “He has had hard moments in his career and he always responds magnificently. There was no blame. It was just an unfortunate thing
“He is a big character and bounces back from that. It shows you the character of Steven.”