Liverpool trip will show whether Jose Mourinho has turned clock back in ultimate test for Spurs

When Jose Mourinho left Manchester United two years ago, just after what happened to be his last trip to Anfield, he fully expected to be back in the game in no time.

The phone didn’t ring, though, and it prompted a conversation with a football figure who the Portuguese respects.

“Jose,” the advice began, “no one wants to have to deal with all the nonsense any more.” That wasn’t about how he manages, but all “the noise” Mourinho creates around it. The headlines, the “toxic atmosphere”. Mourinho underwent a bit of self-reflection, that he actually referenced in his introductory press conference at Tottenham Hotspur.

Some of the results have been seen this season, not least regarding his team’s scorelines.

Mourinho certainly strikes a different attitude to the time in 2016, just before he started at United, and he was about to be introduced on stage at a promo event as one of the Premier League’s great managers. The presenter cycled through the names beforehand – “You, Pep, Wenger, Klopp…” – at which point the Portuguese cut him off.

“Klopp hasn’t won anything.”