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Jose returns to his field of nightmaresMourinho; is running scared of Anfield.

Byline: JAMES PEARCE

CHELSEA boss Jose Mourinho is no stranger to having his dreams crushed on Merseyside. He suffered Champions League semi-final heartache at Anfield in both 2005 and 2007, and how Kopites would dearly love to see Liverpool end his interest in this season's Premier League title race The self-appointed 'Special One' is a man running scared ahead of tomorrow's reunion with Brendan Rodgers. He has spent the past week getting his excuses in early. From insinuating that a refereeing conspiracy was behind Chelsea's stuttering form to bemoaning the fixture schedule and threatening to play 'the kids' at Anfield.

Mourinho has conveniently overlooked the fact that Chelsea actually have more time to prepare for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg than opponents Atletico Madrid, whose La Liga trip to Valencia kicks-off at 4pm tomorrow.

The Portuguese somehow managed to keep a straight face when he spoke about Chelsea deserving more "respect" during another tetchy press conference at Cobham yesterday.

Mourinho doesn't appear to know the meaning of the word. There was a time when his histrionics spiced up English football but the novelty value has long since worn off. Now the act is just boring.

His behaviour since returning to Stamford Bridge last summer has wavered between embarrassing and shameful. From the hypocrisy of berating West Ham for playing '19th century football' to his constant haranguing of officials.

The FA charges are stacking up - against both Cardiff and Aston Villa he was sent to the stands and subsequently fined. His punishment for last weekend's sarcastic praise for the "unbelievable" performances of Mike Dean and referees chief Mike Riley is pending.

It was a desperate attempt to take the focus away from his own side's failings after losing his proud unbeaten league record to Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. And it also overlooked some of the big decisions which have enabled Chelsea to stay in the title race this long. Not least when Howard Webb allowed Samuel Eto'o to get away with a shocking studs up challenge on Jordan Henderson back in December and then ignored Eto'o's trip on Luis Suarez inside the box.

And how about Ramires' tumble which allowed Chelsea to claim a last-gasp equaliser at home to West Brom and prompted an apology to the Baggies from Riley? Mourinho has constantly bemoaned Chelsea's lack of firepower - despite the fact he only has himself to blame having allowed their best striker to spend the season on loan at Everton.

He has also repeatedly banged on about the advantage Liverpool have had domestically without the demands of European football. The idea that the Reds have been the beneficiaries of an uneven playing field is simply laughable.

The huge amounts of cash both Chelsea and Manchester City have spent was supposed to ensure they could compete on all fronts.

The painful reality that Mourinho doesn't want to face up to is that he's been outperformed by a friend who once viewed him as a mentor. Despite only having a fraction of the resources, Rodgers has stolen Mourinho's thunder as the talented young coach with the Midas touch. When you have an ego the size of Mourinho's that has to hurt. No wonder he's leaving a trail of excuses.

CAPTION(S):

FRUSTRATED ONE: Jose Mourinho (right) is set for a reunion with former colleague Brendan Rodgers
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 26, 2014
Words:554
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