By 90Min
December 17, 2018

Even the most anti-José Mourinho vigilantes among us must have felt a slight pang of pity for the former Chelsea manager on Sunday afternoon, as he cut a weatherbeaten figure on the touchline, watching his side sink to yet another miserable defeat against Jürgen Klopp's rampant Liverpool.

Let's be honest, it was always on the cards. The Reds have been simply excellent this season, surging their way to the top of the Premier League table without losing a single match. Conversely, Sunday's 3-1 defeat was the pungent icing on the unrelentingly stale cake United fans have been forced to shuffle down for the majority of the 2018/19 campaign thus far.

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With United now well out of the title race, it seems an appropriate moment to assess which of the two managers have been more successful during their time at the club. Of course, 'success' is a rather subjective term - personally, I count my Christmas Dinner 2014 roast potatoes as one of my greatest lifetime achievements, but others may - outrageously - deem it insignificant.

So for the purposes of this article, we shall assess Klopp and Mourinho's successes based on three distinct categories: 1. Trophies won. 2. Players signed. 3. Fan support.

First up, trophies. Those beautiful, glistening hunks of metal (that have an uncanny ability to elude Tottenham Hotspur) held aloft by victorious club captains, before serving as a vessel for the most satisfying swig of champagne that will ever pass their lips. Mourinho is the clear winner here, bagging three trophies to Klopp's zero.

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However, let's remember that while Mourinho dined out on winning a 'treble' in his first season at Old Trafford, it was the Community Shield, EFL Cup and Europa League that he won - very much the 'Employee of the Week' calibre of trophies on offer. Nonetheless, he has won something at least, which is more than can be said for Klopp.

The former Borussia Dortmund manager has come agonisingly close to sparking up a victory cigar since arriving at Anfield in 2015 - settling for bridesmaid on three occasions in the League Cup, Europa League and Champions League respectively. As Mourinho has said this past week: trophies matter

The latter was by far the most painful, and saw Liverpool fans watch on from the sidelines through tears of rage, clutching the bouquet with white knuckles as Sergio Ramos cavorted down the aisle in a billowing white gown.

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Next up, players signed. Klopp wins this one. Hands. Down. After a seemingly never ending transfer saga, the Reds finally flogged Philippe Coutinho (remember him?!) to Barcelona and reinvested the money in spectacular fashion. Virgil van Dijk - the most expensive defender in footballing history. Goalkeeping behemoth Alisson. And he'd signed some guy called Mohamed Salah a few months earlier. 


You wouldn't think it to look at the United squad, but Mourinho's spending has been just as prolific as Klopp's - though admittedly he did blow £89m on Paul Pogba. Other big purchases include £53m splashed out on forgotten man Fred, and £30m on Victor Lindelöf. Even that £1.5m spent on Lee Grant could have been better spent on, say, a new travel coordinator.


Klopp has, without a shadow of a doubt, got more bang for his buck in the transfer market, and has a vastly superior squad as a result.

PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

Lastly, fan support. In truth, a lot of the rage spewed towards Mourinho tends to come from United's gargantuan social media following - rather than those who've actually been to Old Trafford. However, week by week, the 'Special One' is becoming an increasingly unpopular figure at the Theatre of Dreams, as the press conference outbursts and dire form continues.


In stark contrast, Klopp, should he so desire, could casually stroll into the house of any Liverpool fan in Merseyside, chuck their television out the window, set the garden shed on fire,  and still receive a round of applause. The man is adored at Anfield, and it would take a monumental turnaround in fortunes to see him lose his golden boy image.

Well there we have it. Klopp has emerged a 2-1 winner over Mourinho, and has arguably been a greater success at Liverpool than his counterpart has at United. But the Premier League has quite the habit of throwing up shock twists to deepen the always compelling narrative, and like Sherlock Holmes surviving the Reichenbach Falls - Mourinho will be back.

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