Jose Mourinho insists Manchester United will be going for the win against Liverpool at Anfield tonight and have no intention of simply playing for the draw.
Over the years Mourinho has built up a reputation of being defensively minded when it comes to the big games and it’s a pragmatic approach in these fixtures which has served Mourinho so well, but questions have been asked about whether United would park the proverbial bus at Anfield.
Speaking about United’s tactics ahead of the game, Mourinho hinted at a very different approach.
“We will try to win, that is for sure,” he said.
“When they have the ball we have to defend and when we have the ball we have to attack.
“We want to stop them scoring and the best way to do this is with 11 men and to score we want to be dominant, have the ball and this is what we are doing. It won’t be the same as last season where Liverpool had a lot of shots on target and United had one and the result was 0-1. We still have to improve on many things, but we will continue to keep playing as we are playing. We have a certain style of play and are not going to change that.”
I fully expect United to sit deep and disciplined because we’ve got to be against Jurgen Klopp’s gegenpressing which will put us under immense pressure at the back. However, I also anticipate we’ll be lethally quick on the counter-attack – in effect, I expect us to play almost in a 4-5-1 formation like we used to away from home in Europe under Sir Alex Ferguson.
It would be foolish for United to go with an expansive team and attack from the front straight away at Anfield. That would play into Liverpool’s hands and leave us exposed. We know they’ve got the home advantage and the most important thing away from home is to make sure we don’t concede in the first 15 minutes when the atmosphere is fever pitch.
If we can come through that first quarter of an hour unscathed and then aim to hit Liverpool swiftly on the counter, we’ll be in a position to win the game. It’s going to be a tactical battle between Klopp and Mourinho but having been involved in so many big matches like this before, Mourinho knows exactly what it takes to win games and that gives United fans confidence of getting a result tonight even if we’re considered the underdogs.