Jose Mourinho: Tottenham boss says ‘best team lost’ following last-gasp Liverpool defeat

Jose Mourinho accused Tottenham of failing to kill off the game and believes “the best team lost” as Roberto Firmino’s late winner saw Liverpool leapfrog them into top spot in the Premier League.

Spurs were level at the break after Heung-Min Son cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s deflected opener, despite the hosts dominating possession.

Firmino then headed the winner in the 90th minute as Spurs missed the chance to lay down a marker in the title race as Liverpool extended their unbeaten league run at Anfield to an imperious 66 games.

Asked about what appeared to be a testy exchange with Klopp after the final whistle, Mourinho told Amazon Prime: “The best team lost and he disagreed but that’s his opinion.

Image:
Eric Dier felt he was fouled in the build-up to Firmino's winning header

“I told him the best team lost. He disagreed. That’s his opinion. By the way, if I behaved the way on the touchline like he does, I have no chance to stay there – and I’m out after a minute. I’m treated different – and that’s sad.”

The Spurs head coach continued in his post-match press conference: “I think even a draw would have left us not with the best taste because we had them there to win it.

“It was not just about the big chances, it was the moment of the big chances. The moment was when they were in trouble, in their worst moment, and we had it there to kill it and we missed it.

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  • Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham – Match report
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“Normally, in matches of this level, you pay [for] it. I thought we were going to pay [for] it by just taking a point, but in the end, we did not even take a point so it is very disappointing.”

2:59

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Spurs pushed on in the second half, creating a host of chances to secure a rare Anfield win as Steven Bergwijn rattled the post and Harry Kane headed over from six yards.

Mourinho added: “Looking to the performance, I am happy with the team. I am happy with our proposal, the proposal of going to every match to win it. Sometimes you cannot do it. Sometimes you cannot play better than you did because of the opponent.

“Today, I really think, in such a difficult game against such a good team, the boys were very good, and we are punished.

Image:
Toby Alderweireld cuts a dejected figure after Roberto Firmino's late winner

“You have to kill matches of this dimension; you just have to kill it. The game was there. We were in the face of the keeper two or three times and you just have to kill it.

“Steven Bergwijn was face-to-face with the keeper two times, we had the corner when Harry [Kane] had the free header, we had other counter-attacking situations that we did not finish. We had it, we knew how to hurt [them] and we should have done much better than we did.”

The defeat was Spurs’ second of the season – and first since the opening day against Everton – and they trail the champions by three points having gone into the top-of-the-table showdown ahead on goal difference.

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Sunday 20th December 2:00pm

Kick off 2:15pm

When pressed further on the conversation with Klopp on the touchline, Mourinho told the BBC in a separate interview: “Everything is fine between us. The referees let him behave the way he does. It’s not my problem. I feel sad for it because I can not do it but it’s just the way it is.”

Asked how he would go about lifting his players ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leicester – live on Sky Sports – Mourinho said: “It is just to follow the same road. It is not because we win or lose here tonight that we are going to leave the road. The road is match after match.

“The road is to improve, the road is to prepare the future of this team better and better and better like other clubs do and like other managers have time to do.

“We have a big game again on Sunday against one of the best teams and we have to move on. Tomorrow we are there and let’s go for Sunday.”

Klopp hails ‘exceptional’ Reds

0:31

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s late victory over Tottenham provides a ‘massive three points’ as his side move top of the Premier League

Liverpool’s late victory left manager Klopp delighted with a performance that was reminiscent of many last season which brought their first league title in 30 years.

Klopp appeared nonplussed when asked about his conversation with Mourinho at full-time.

“It was not heated at all,” he told the BBC. “He wasn’t happy because he told me the better team lost – and I thought he was joking! But he wasn’t. So that’s it.”

Speaking later in his post-match press conference, Klopp added: “It’s been a tough period, a tough period not only coming up but one we’ve already been through. To play a game like this tonight is absolutely exceptional.

“It was a top game and we deserved three points against a top side who, organisation-wise are very difficult to play against with the counter-attacking threat they have. I liked the game a lot.

“We didn’t have too many times in the season where we had late moments. I have no problem starting it again scoring late if it is needed.

“Of course Tottenham had chances, they scored a goal with an unbelievably tight offside decision – we are really not lucky with these decisions at the moment. They had other chances – you cannot defend Kane, Son, Bergwijn for 90 minutes, the speed they have is incredible.

0:41

Roberto Firmino produced a magical moment for 2,000 Liverpool fans at Anfield as his last-minute header sealed a crucial 2-1 victory

“But around those moments we were completely in charge of the game, stayed concentrated and protected our attacks sensationally well, counter press was good, passing was good.

“Not all of our efforts led to a goal or a proper chance because they were deep in the box and defended all of the high balls. We needed to be creative and the boys were creative, stayed creative and then forced it.

“The first goal we forced a little bit and the second with the set-piece is really nice because we don’t have a lot of time to work on things and that worked out again.”

Klopp: Bobby scores goals!

0:25

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he hopes Roberto Firmino ‘never doubts himself’ after he scored the winner in their 2-1 home win over Tottenham

Klopp hopes Firmino’s crucial late strike helps the Brazil striker in his efforts to ignore those who continue to question his effectiveness in front of goal.

“I hope he never doubts himself,” Klopp added. “In training, it never looks like he is, but there is so much talk about him it’s almost like people are surprised when he scores. He scores goal, important ones for us.

“For us, it’s not so much about who scores them, because the only thing that is important is that the ball is in the back of the net. The way we get there, there are a few obvious things like passing the ball, crossing and finishing, but also making the runs to open up the gaps for these things.

“People don’t see that. I’m not surprised Bobby scores goal, I’m happy for tonight because it was a very important one for us and for him, but more for us.”

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