Jose Mourinho desperate for victory as Man United prepare for crunch match against Liverpool

It’s the biggest fixture in English football and the 200th meeting between Manchester United and Liverpool.

However, Jose Mourinho was coy when he faced the media ahead of tomorrow’s important showdown in the race for Champions League football next season.

Three years ago, former United boss Louis van Gaal called the race for the top four places a ‘rat race,’ and something similar is developing this season with United, Liverpool and Spurs all on the coattails of each other ahead of Chelsea in fifth – five points off fourth place.

Mourinho is hungry to win, but has played down the pre-match talk, insisting the game against Liverpool is just another fixture despite the rivalry and tradition.

“I want to win, of course I want to win. It’s a big match, it’s a big opponent. It’s the team that’s just behind us [in the Premier League table].

“It’s a team that is already in the Champions League last eight, so of course it’s a big match. But I’m not very good on that rivalry, every opponent is a rival for me,” Mourinho said.

He added: “In my mentality, every match is the same. I’m not very good on that culture – ‘this rivalry is special, that match is special.’ I’ve never been very good at it.

“I never look to AC Milan as the biggest rival, I never look at Atletico [Madrid] as the enemy, I never look to Spurs or Arsenal as the big rival, I’ve never been any good on it.

“For me, it is just a big match.” 

Mourinho also reflected on his experience of managing historical clashes while in charge of Internazionale, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

He said: “I still don’t look to some matches as special opponents. It’s just a big match, because we are speaking about two big clubs.”

“We have three matches now: Liverpool, Sevilla and Brighton. If you ask me, if I could choose one to be the most important one, I can’t choose.

“For me, the most important one is Liverpool, because it is the next. But, the other two are knockout, the other two means we are in the Champions League quarter-finals or not and we go to Wembley in a semi-final [in the FA Cup] or not.”

Mourinho may have played the rivalry down somewhat, but United against Liverpool is more than just a fixture, it’s the most watched game around the globe.

The game between the sides at Anfield in March 2015 attracted 700 million viewers – the most a club match has ever attracted.

Just as they did then, United go into tomorrow’s clash just two points clear of Liverpool – a team currently firing on all cylinders.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost just one of their last 20 Premier League games, scoring 53 goals – more than any other team in the league during this period.

Liverpool could go above United in the table for the first time this season with both teams having played the same amount of games, but it will be a tough ask when considering United’s strong home form.

The Red Devils have lost just two of their last 62 games at Old Trafford in all competitions – both 2-1 defeats at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

Tomorrow’s game is perfectly poised and has all the makings of another classic clash between England’s chief titans.

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