The Blues need a boost on the end of a torrid week, but their Portuguese boss insists the struggling Premier League champions are not short of confidence
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool travel to face Chelsea this Saturday, aware they can pile more misery on Jose Mourinho’s men.
The Premier League champions have endured a nightmare start to the season and relinquished their grip on the League Cup – which they won in March – with a fourth-round penalty-shootout defeat at Stoke City on Tuesday.
Mourinho’s side, who sit 15th in the Premier League, have won just one of their last seven games in all competitions and reports suggest that a loss to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool could spell the end of the Portuguese’s second reign at Stamford Bridge.
However, while admitting that lifting his squad for the weekend will be tough, Mourinho feels Chelsea’s stars can take heart from their performance at the Britannia Stadium.
“It’s difficult – but it’s more difficult when you play very badly and lose, than playing well and losing,” the former Real Madrid boss said.
“They go home with sadness but with a positive feeling. How can [Eden] Hazard, or Oscar, or [John-Obi] Mikel, or John Terry, to say some names – I could say everyone – how can they go home with a lack of confidence?
“They played well, they didn’t make many mistakes. They participated in the game a lot.”
By contrast, Mourinho’s opposite number Klopp heads into Saturday’s match riding the crest of the wave of positivity surrounding his appointment at Anfield.
Klopp oversaw his first win in charge of Liverpool on Wednesday – a 1-0 League Cup victory over AFC Bournemouth – following three successive draws since replacing Brendan Rodgers.
And the German was thrilled to finally get off the mark.
“I feel much better than after a draw,” Klopp said. “But I don’t think the other games were so much worse than today – of course, the result is the biggest difference and we did well tonight.
“I saw minute by minute we were better in the game, we closed the spaces better and the whole 90 minutes we played football and created our chances.
“We didn’t have any real experience together, so I’m really satisfied – the boys did really well.”
Christian Benteke missed the Bournemouth tie with a knee issue, but Klopp expects the Belgian – who came off the bench to score the opener in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Southampton last week – to be fit for Saturday.
Daniel Sturridge continues to struggle with a knee injury of his own and remains doubtful, but James Milner is available after suspension.
Mourinho also faces a headache up front, with Diego Costa suffering a rib injury at Stoke, leaving the Spain frontman’s status for the weekend in question.
Branislav Ivanovic (hamstring) is likely to miss out for Chelsea, while Pedro is also a doubt.