Jose Mourinho has been speaking about the man he will attempt to outsmart later today, Brendan Rodgers, ahead of our clash with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Rodgers brings the Merseyside outfit to west London this afternoon with just a point separating the two sides, and while Liverpool were beaten at Manchester City on Boxing Day, they have been in great form recently, with their 5-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur one of the standout results of the season so far.
While Mourinho was in charge of the Blues first time around, Rodgers worked with the youth team, before eventually moving up to look after the reserves, and the Portuguese was full of praise for the man whose side he hopes to overcome.
‘Brendan is one of my best friends in football,’ said the Chelsea manager. ‘Before the game it will be good to be with him, after the game the same. During the game, he does his job, I do my job.
‘He is always welcome here, he worked with us for a few years and was always a nice guy, a good professional, so we have a lot of respect.
‘He was working with the youth team but I brought him up to train with us a few times, he was always very open with his opinions and interested in the game, so me and my staff like him very much.
‘He’s at one of the top clubs in England, one of the top clubs in the world, so I think his ambition now is not to go to a big club, because he’s already at a big club, his ambition now is to win titles. He’s at the club where he wants to be and where he’s happy to be.’
After a sustained spell of underachievement, Liverpool, on current form, look set to challenge for the Premier League title for the first time in a number of years, with much of the credit going to Rodgers for the decisions he has made.
Central to their success this season has been the form of Luis Suarez, who has already scored 19 league goals. The Uruguayan looked set to leave Anfield in the summer following a string of negative headlines, but recently put pen to paper on a new five-year contract.
‘Every player is different and has his own personality,’ said Mourinho. ‘There are some players that want to leave and after that it depends on them when they are forced to stay, it depends on whether they want to have their revenge in a negative way by not performing, not being interested or committed.
‘But they can also say look at me, I’m a professional and I want to do my work in the proper way, so it depends more on the player’s personality.’
The Blues go into today’s game having kept two consecutive clean sheets, but Mourinho feels the key to success lies in ensuring we capitalise on opportunities at the other end of the pitch.
‘For Chelsea to beat Liverpool we need to score more goals from less chances,’ he said. ‘Because normally, against a side like Liverpool, you don’t create five, six or seven big chances, you get two or three, and you need to score them.’
You can listen to full live commentary of today’s game on Chelsea TV from 4pm.