Football

Published: Monday April 28, 2014 MYT 1:22:24 AM
Updated: Monday April 28, 2014 MYT 1:22:36 AM

Liverpool rue failure to get past Chelsea's two buses

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers got his big break in football as an assistant to Jose Mourinho, but he will not be taking any lessons in how to win from his former mentor.

Liverpool suffered a major blow to their hopes of winning their first title since 1990 when Chelsea won 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday, frustrating the Premier League leaders with dogged defending and punishing them on the break with goals by Demba Ba and Willian.

"It's the polar opposite to how we work," Rodgers told reporters.

"They sat really deep. There were probably two buses today parked today rather than one," he said, using a phrase made famous by Mourinho nearly 10 years ago to criticise a team for defending too much.

In the same way that Chelsea held Atletico Madrid to a 0-0 draw in a Champions League semi-final first leg last week, Mourinho ordered his midfield to sit deep and double up with his defenders to deny space and time to Liverpool.

Rodgers, who was a youth-team coach at Reading before Mourinho brought him to Chelsea in 2004 as a member of his backroom staff, conceded his side struggled to create a breakthrough.

"It was 10 players, from the first minute, behind (the ball)," he said.

"It's totally the opposite of how we work and hopefully, over time, our offensive mentality and aggression will get us long-term results."

Mourinho bristled at the suggestion that his team was too negative.

"Defensive display? I am a bit confused with what the media thinks about defensive displays," Mourinho said when asked by reporters about his team's approach.

"When a team defends well, you call it a defensive display. When a team defends badly and concedes two or three goals, you don't consider it a defensive display and sometimes they are defensive displays," he said.

"The best team won..., for me, in my opinion,"

Mourinho rested several senior players ahead of the second leg of the semi-final second leg against Atletico at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Brazilians Oscar and David Luiz were left out of the squad. Defender Gary Cahill and midfielder Willian, who are normally in the starting 11, only came on as second-half substitutes, as did striker Fernando Torres. Mourinho gave Tomas Kalas, a 20 year-old defender, his Premier League debut.

"The team played brilliantly. Every player was magnificent. No mistakes," Mourinho said.

But despite being just two points behind Liverpool with two games to play, the Portuguese coach continued to insist Chelsea had "no chance" of winning the title, something that would require both Liverpool and Manchester City - who have an extra game - to drop points.

"We can say we won both matches against the champions," he said, referring to Chelsea's league wins at home and away against both Liverpool and City.

Mourinho also said there was a chance that injured captain John Terry would recover from a twisted ankle in time for the Atletico game.

"He has a chance," he said. "Let's see tomorrow. After match against Atletico I said no chance. In this moment I say maybe."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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