Paddy Mulligan: Does Mourinho have the personnel to make his blueprint work against Liverpool?

Manchester United take on the Reds in the Monday night Premier League fixture

BY Raf Diallo 14:28 Monday 17 October 2016, 14:28 17 Oct 2016

Manchester United’s manager José Mourinho, right, with Manchester United’s Paul Pogba just prior to the start of Europa League group A soccer match between Manchester United and Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Former Ireland full-back Paddy Mulligan believes Manchester United could put in a one-off Mourinho-esque performance against Liverpool tonight.

But the ex-Chelsea, Crystal Palace and West Brom defender does not think Jose Mourinho has the players to set up to contain the opposition in exactly the way he has liked to do in big games in the past. 

Speaking on the Rewind podcast ahead of the Monday night clash at Anfield, Paddy thinks the United manager will look to replicate what his Chelsea side did to Liverpool in the 2013-14 season.

"Mourinho has a great record at Anfield when he was at Chelsea and scuppered any chance of Liverpool winning the title three seasons back. He went to Anfield and set up his team in a very defensive mode. Instead of Liverpool going and playing at their pace, they allowed Chelsea go and play and dictate the pace they were going to play at - taking a long time at throw-ins, free-kicks and goal kicks. That's all part and parcel of the game. Mourinho had the players to go and do that at Chelsea. I think he'll probably set up the same way tonight," said Paddy.

"But does he have the quality of players to go and do that? I'm not so sure. But any Liverpool fan who thinks this is going to be an easy one tonight, well forget about it. This is going to be a very tough game for Liverpool. If they win it 1-0, they're going to be doing very, very well.

"Even though United, according to some people, are having a bad season, there's always one big game in them. And no better man to go to Anfield and eke out a result than Jose Mourinho."

But he did add that the manager doesn't have "the quality of player" in midfield to contain first and foremost, given that the likes of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and others are not primarily that type of player.

And Paddy believes bringing Wayne Rooney back and playing him alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front - and not in midfield under any circumstances - could be a good option.

"If they sit in and say 'right, we're going to counter-attack Liverpool and lull them into a false sense of security, get them bombing forward and then hit them completely on the break'... I'd be inclined to play Rooney tonight at Anfield tonight for that particular reason," he said.

Listen to Paddy's pre-match thoughts on the podcast player:

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