It was hard for Jose Mourinho not to make a veiled dig at Liverpool after Roma beat Leicester in the Europa Champions League semi-finals on Thursday.
Following Roma’s win against Leicester on Thursday night, Jose Mourinho was ecstatic, but he kept his cool enough to poke fun at one of his many opponents.
Then, Roma defeated Leicester City 1-0 in the Stadio Olimpico to go to the Europa Conference League final, giving Mourinho another title.
As soon as the final whistle sounded in Rome, Mourinho broke down in tears. This was a very important moment.
He commended his players for their “fantastic” performance in his post-match press conference, singling out goal scorer Tammy Abraham in particular.
He then changed gears to address Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Excuse me, but I’d want to convey a message to a coach I know, the great Carletto: let’s both go and win the finals! He said gleefully.
If it were any other manager, it would most likely be taken at face value as a message of support for a colleague.
However, because it is Mourinho, there is a second layer to it: a dig at Real’s Champions League final opponents, Liverpool.
Mourinho has had a long relationship with the Merseyside red half, whether he wanted it that way or not.
They are not only the team he has faced the most times in his career (31 games, 12 triumphs, nine draws, and 10 defeats), but they are also the team with whom he has clashed the most.
Everything may have turned out drastically differently.
Liverpool needed a new manager after Gerard Houllier’s six-year reign ended in 2004, and Mourinho’s profile was at an all-time high following his remarkable Champions League triumph with Porto.
Rafa Benitez was finally chosen, despite Jose Mourinho being on their list.
Mourinho’s spectacular charge along the Old Trafford touchline during the Portuguese side’s run to the final ultimately decided the game in Benitez’s favor.
Then-CEO Rick Parry said afterwards, “Respect was one of our primary values. Seeing Mourinho ecstatically confirms my first idea.
Was he indeed Liverpool’s manager? Is he talking about the ideals of the club?”
According to the Evening Standard, Jose Mourinho turned down a deal from Liverpool to join Chelsea because Roman Abramovich was more interested in getting the deal done.
Following that, Mourinho joined Chelsea, and his rivalry with Liverpool began. It didn’t take them long to acquire a mutual dislike for each other.
The 2004/05 season began with Chelsea’s 3-2 League Cup final victory against Liverpool, with Mourinho’s infamous “shush” gesture to Liverpool fans not going over well.
When he explained that it was a reference to the media, hardly anyone believed him.
When Liverpool scored a “ghost goal” in the Champions League semi-final the following season, Mourinho became infuriated.
Chelsea beat Liverpool 4-1 at Anfield in October 2005, right after they won the Premier League.
Mourinho complained that the English press was not happy with his “dull” style of play, which made him angry.
According to former Chelsea captain John Terry, Mourinho disliked Liverpool.
“I recall the team talk Mourinho gave before we played after we won the league [in 2005],” Terry told Sky Sports reporter Jamie Carragher in 2020.
“I think we were up 20 or 30 points when he remarked, ‘There’s no way you can lose this game against these guys.’ He couldn’t even say Liverpool.” You don’t lose to them today,” he added.
According to Terry, Mourinho and Benitez “hated one another” and “hated losing to each other even more.”
The Special One later sought unsuccessfully to bring Steven Gerrard to Stamford Bridge in order to infuriate Liverpool supporters, using the age-old adage “if you can’t beat them, join them.”
Fast forward a few years to the end of the 2013/14 season, when things began to pick up again.
Chelsea ended Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes courtesy of Demba Ba’s iconic goal, which came after Gerrard’s even more renowned error, allowing Mourinho the chance to go full Mourinho.
After the 2-0 triumph, Mourinho chose to beat his chest down the Anfield touchline while wearing a Chelsea gilet.
Liverpool avenged themselves in 2018 by overcoming Mourinho’s struggling Manchester United side 3-1.
His dismissal at Old Trafford was as a result of this result.
And while he finally joined Tottenham Hotspur, where relations were a little better, the Portuguese coach and Liverpool are still at odds.