Mourinho recalls how Mikel Obi helped destroy Liverpool’s title hopes

Mourinho recalls how Mikel Obi helped destroy Liverpool’s title hopes
Foto Massimo Paolone/LaPresse 17 Dicembre 2023 - Bologna, Italia - sport, calcio - Bologna vs Roma - Campionato italiano di calcio Serie A TIM 2023/2024 - Stadio Renato Dall'Ara. Nella foto: Jose Mourinho (AS Roma) osserva December 17, 2023 Bologna, Italy - sport, calcio - Bologna vs Roma - Italian Serie A Football Championship 2023/2024 - Renato Dall'Ara Stadium. In the pic: Jose Mourinho (AS Roma) looks on - Photo by Icon sport

Jose Mourinho has recalled one of the most famous games in recent Premier League history, where John Mikel Obi played in a rather unfamiliar position.

The Blues travelled to Anfield to face Liverpool for that potential 2013-14 Premier League season title decider.

It was a game of huge significance for the Reds, who were cruising to the title at the time.

Nigerian midfielder Mikel Obi played a part in that famous match as he was deployed at the heart of the defence in a makeshift line-up by then-Chelsea boss Mourinho. 

The match in question is famous for many things, including the slip by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. 

In the latest episode of the The Obi One Podcast, Mourinho revealed why Chelsea were so determined to spoil Liverpool's title dream in 2014, as he reflected on his side's 2-0 victory against the Reds at Anfield.

Key happenings of that 2014 match – Mikel Obi as a makeshift centre-back

Liverpool were in the driving seat and close to breaking their 24-year title drought at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, before infamously collapsing in the final few matches of the season.

In the game against Chelsea, Mikel Obi started at the heart of the backline as the Blues walked away with all three points.

Mourinho's Chelsea, who won the title the following season, blew open the title race with the win in April, ending the Reds' 11-match winning streak under Brendan Rodgers.

Chelsea's crucial first goal came after Liverpool captain Gerrard slipped in an advanced position, allowing Blues striker Demba Ba through on goal for a simple finish. Willian then scored in injury time to seal the victory for Chelsea.

The defeat to Chelsea dented their hopes of winning the league and it was sealed when they drew 3-3 with Crystal Palace a week later as Manchester City walked away with the crown.

Why we were so desperate to end their title dreams – Jose Mourinho

Mourinho revealed why he and his Chelsea team were so desperate to beat Liverpool while appearing as a guest on The Obi One Podcast. 

“It was nothing to do with Brendan. In many fun moments, we used to call Brendan the special two. We had a very good relationship,” he said.

“What happened was, we were in the Champions League semi-final. We drew 0-0 with Atletico Madrid and we played at home in the second leg. And this game (against Liverpool) meant nothing because we were going to finish second or third.

“I wanted to play the game on Friday night or Saturday. The Premier League didn't do that for us. We were crying, we were complaining, we were begging, and they were saying it was because of the audience, because of Sky, because I don't know what.

“For us it was about reaching the Champions League final, but I couldn't go and play Liverpool with our Under 18s. It wouldn't have been fair to Man City for us to go there even with our second team, so we wanted to do things in the right way.

“We wanted to play on the Friday night or on Saturday at 12 pm maximum. They didn't give us that, so when we went there, we went to destroy their party, and we went there like we were playing for the title, which we weren't, but we gave everything to try to win.

“Of course, I gave a bit of rest to one or two guys, I played young [Tomas] Kalas, who had a fantastic game against Luis Suarez. We were on the bus and the guys outside were selling shirts with ‘Liverpool Champions' on, and you can't allow that as Chelsea. You have to keep the marketing and merchandise in a box.

“We played a fantastic match. Of course, Stevie G slipped, and he was the last person who deserved that to happen, but that's part of football and in reality we played so well. 

“I even felt sorry for Brendan [Rodgers] because I'm always supporting my friends, but on matchday, friends stay at home.”


This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

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