Manchester United 2016-17: Mourinho, Year 1

Zomp

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So here we are. It took a little longer than expected, but Jose Mourinho is the Manager of Manchester United. You all know about the accolades, and struggles, of Jose and if you thought he would become a little more humble after last year's fiasco well today's press conference would make you thing again.

Some quotes:

"I was never very good playing with the words and playing behind words, and hiding behind words, and hiding behind philosophies. I was never good on that. In fact, I never tried to be good on that. I was always much more aggressive in my approach with the risks that, obviously, that can bring."

"There are some managers that the last time they won a title was 10 years ago, There are some managers that the last time they won a title was never. The last time I won a title was 1 year ago. Was not 10 years ago, was not 15 years ago, was 1 year ago. So, if I have a lot to prove, imagine the others."

"First of all, let me ask how much time we have in the press conference. 5 minutes? Then, I don’t have time to answer it. Because to answer your question, I will take 10 minutes. (Interviewer: Just a couple of minutes, then.) Just a a couple of minutes? I knew it, that was coming.Do you know how many young players I promote to the first team from academies? 49. Do you want to know who they are? You don’t want to know who they are. 49. 49. If you want, or if anyone is interested, I can give you that. I promote 49 players from the academies from the clubs, and with two factors that are very important on these records. Because sometimes you promote players, because you don’t have another choice. You have so many injuries, because you don’t have another choice. You have to bring up the players from the academy because you have lots of players injured. That is one factor. And the second factor is when you are not playing for big targets – it’s also easier to bring them up. Outside the pressure of the big moments. My record for injuries is very very low – very very low. Even in many years, from the UEFA Champions League studies about every team, my teams – they were many times the team with less injuries in the whole Europe. So, I never promote players because of a need. I did it because of conviction, and decision. And the second factor is that last year was the only season of my career that I was not fighting for the title. "

On Wayne Rooney:

"
So, maybe he’s not a striker anymore, maybe he’s not a number 9 anymore. But with me, he will be never a number 6. He will be never somebody playing 50m away from the goal. You can tell me, his pass is amazing. Yes, his pass is amazing but my pass is also amazing without pressure. There are many players with a great pass but to be there and to put the ball in the net is the most difficult thing you have to find. So for me, he will be a 9, a 10, a 9-and-a-half but not a 6. Not even an 8."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


He also said that they are looking to bring in one more player aside from the 3 they have already signed (or agreed to sign in Mkhitarian's case). The assumption is that it will be a center midfielder with L'Equipe reporting tonight that he's trying to sign Blaise Matuidi.

I don't think he'll differentiate from the 4-2-3-1 that he's known for. It will be interesting to see who lines up in the starting 11 once the season comes along. Zlatan, Martial, Miki, Rooney, Smalling, De Gea and hopefully a fully fit Luke Shaw should be the definites. Schneiderlin seems like a Mourinho type player and I wouldn't be surprised if he lands the responsibility of being Jose's 6. The other midfielder playing behind Rooney will probably be a new signing, or Schweiny/Carrick. Bailly, the new central defender, comes with a lot of promise but even Jose said in his interview with MUTV that he's not sure if he'll be ready to contribute right away...however I did think it was interesting that he praised his tactical awareness and technique when scouting reports have said otherwise. That leaves right back and I actually think there's some good competition there. Darmian started out great than faded before finding his feet again towards the end of the season. Antonio Valencia has reinvented himself as an attack minded right back who can still deliver balls of quality in the box, and Fosu-Mensah looked poised and ready for first team action in his limited appearances.

Total guess but I'm going with

-------------------Zlatan----------------
Martial----------Rooney--------Miki
--------Schneiderlin--New Signing--
Shaw-----Smalling---Bailly-----TFM
-------------------DDG------------------

As the preferred starting 11.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I'm interested to see what Jose does on defense as he has always preferred an experienced set of defenders but he'll be making choices at United between some relatively uninspiring experienced options and some untested younger ones. There is literally no precedent in Jose's career for making a player like Bailly a defensive starter, much less Fosu-Mensah.

The identity of that new midfielder seems pretty high leverage. For me, Matuidi would not be a scary signing, different from but not meaningfully better than Schneiderlin or Herrera. Pogba, on the other hand, would be a massive coup, even if he is a bit overrated at this point.
 

Zomp

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I'm interested to see what Jose does on defense as he has always preferred an experienced set of defenders but he'll be making choices at United between some relatively uninspiring experienced options and some untested younger ones. There is literally no precedent in Jose's career for making a player like Bailly a defensive starter, much less Fosu-Mensah.
.
I haven't looked it up but didn't he play Santon regularly at Inter and Varane at Madrid?
 

coremiller

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"There are some managers that the last time they won a title was 10 years ago, There are some managers that the last time they won a title was never. The last time I won a title was 1 year ago. Was not 10 years ago, was not 15 years ago, was 1 year ago. So, if I have a lot to prove, imagine the others."
Mou throwing shade at Wenger right from the start. Never change, Jose.
 

Zomp

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The Manchester Derby friendly in China has been cancelled today due to bad weather making the pitch unplayable.

I feel bad for the fans but I especially feel bad for the City players who've never experienced playing in front of a sell out.
 

Zomp

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Pogba should be officially announced tomorrow.

It may be an overpay in that there is a debate to had whether a player who won't score 30+ goals a season could ever be worth that much money, but The Guardian named him the best box to box midfielder in the world last year, he's won 3 Scudettos with Juventus and last year has the highest rated match average in Serie A by whoscored.com. He's also 23.

You can argue with what I wrote above but I'll be too busy dabbing to read it.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Is the cost going to prevent them from making any other moves? I don't think it will prevent anything major, and as a result he's a huge pick up for them.
 

Zososoxfan

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I don't know if it's unusual, but I also saw that the fee would be paid out over 3 years. How does Mou line em up next year and who gets the starts for the biggest matches?
 

Zomp

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I answered that above but I do think it's changed a bit since Valencia seems to be enjoying the right back position.

I think you'll see DDG-Shaw-Smalling-Bailly-Valencia-Schneiderlin-Pogba-Martial-Rooney-Mikhi-Zlatan when everyone is fit and ready to play. Though Lingaard looked excellent yesterday before coming off.
 

Zomp

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Also Juve released a statement saying it is paid over two years and they will net around 73 million euros from the sale which means they are paying Raiola's fee. That means they essentially swapped Pogba for Higuain. Ooooof.
 

teddykgb

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Is that lineup 4-2-3-1? Isn't Mourinho claiming to play Rooney at striker?

The media are always very friendly to United which will help him with his price tag, both in reported fees and with tempering expectations. He's a very good player and United definitely got a lot stronger with him. When we briefly discussed this during Euros I went looking into his stats and I think the "not an impact player" thing is true enough if you look at him in terms of other attacking midfielders. But what really stands out is his higher number of interceptions than many players you'd associate with his stature. He'll probably be very good in a double pivot with Schneiderlin or as a box to box in a 4-4-2. He's kind of just a weird player in that he's a true CM. Scores once in a while but where the definition of midfielder has drifted toward specialists he's more of a highly skilled all around player.

If United actually got him for closer to 80m than 100m as reported then it's not even that ridiculous a fee. Anyone showing talent goes for 50m now. I'm not sure I'm buying that Juve took a bath on this deal but the manipulation of reporting transfer fees in Europe is impossible to unravel at this point.

edit: Only tangentially related but if you want to see a player whose stats jump off the page check out Modric. I know he's really gained appreciation through the years but my god does that player do everything.
 

Zomp

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Its a 4-2-3-1. Mourinho said he'd play Rooney as a 9 or a 10 so it fits. He played there Sunday and underwhelmed. If he doesn't start the season well, or if Mourinho wants to tinker, I could see him switching to a 4-3-3 with Herrerra and Pogba ahead of Schneiderlin/Carrick. Or Mikhi in the 10 role with Lingaard out wide. Or Rashford out wide. One other thing that these 4 signings have done has given us a deep bench. Mata, Lingaard, Rashford, Darmian and possibly Blind will all be role players looking to make an impact.
 

Zososoxfan

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One thing that Mou and Man U need to figure out is how to transition out of the Rooney era. I don't think he's quality enough anymore for a world-class club (he certainly wouldn't start at Barca, Real, Bayern, etc.). Perhaps they can take this [likely] last year off from UCL and downshift his usage and deal with a more substantial change next year.
 

teddykgb

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Without Rooney the team is tailor made for a 4-3-3. Been a while since Jose really featured that formation prominently but he's got all the bodies for it.
 

AgentOrange

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Also Juve released a statement saying it is paid over two years and they will net around 73 million euros from the sale which means they are paying Raiola's fee. That means they essentially swapped Pogba for Higuain. Ooooof.
Pogba and Morata for Higuain and Pjanic... the squad is unquestionably better on paper now IMO, though obviously older. The shortened time horizon gives me anxiety, but they feel the time is now to make a move in Champions League and raise Juve's stature globally.

Also, how about paying Juve 110m euros to loan Pogba for four years?
 

Zomp

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It is without a doubt one of Ferguson's biggest mistakes and one that I'm surprised he made.

Juve may be better but thats mainly because of Fatguain's upgrade from Morata. I'm a huge fan of Pjanic but lets not kid ourselves and pretend we'd rather have him than Pogba.
 

Zomp

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Derby on Saturday.

I'm disappointed that Mkhitaryan may miss out. He looked very lively in the last game and looked like the perfect player for Mourinho against City. I'm sure City will have most of the possession and United may look to park the bus a bit while trying to nick one. Mkhitaryan is known for turning defending into attacking quicker than most and if fit I'm sure he would start on the right hand side.

Mourinho does have some interesting decisions though. If fit, De Gea, Shaw, Bailly, Valencia, Fellaini, Pogba, Rooney, and Zlatan will start. Valencia, though, gets back from international break on Friday meaning the lunchtime kick off may come a little soon for him.

On the right, does he go for Mkhitaryan, Mata, or Lingaard? If Mkhi isn't fit I actually think Lingaard starts to help out with defensive duties and to try and use his pace.

In the back, does Blind or Smalling start? Blind has actually done very well so far but he's been put under light pressure. Smalling is a better pure defender and I think eventually he'll regain his starting place alongside Bailly. Blind certainly offers composure and a great passing range from the back, but I'm not sure if it will be needed on Saturday if we set up to defend. No Aguero eases the pressure a bit but City still have quality all over the pitch and Sterling has been terrific when I've seen him play.

I'm very curious to see who he starts with on the left. Martial has looked exhausted in the first 3 games, having played virtually all summer after playing in the most games of his career last season. He's been surprisingly diligent in his back tracking for Mourinho but the offensive quality hasn't been there yet. He looked decent for France during the break but Rashford looked great every time he touched the ball last game and he scored a hat trick for the under 21 England team on the break.

For a laugh, here's Jaime Jackson's combined starting 11...

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2016/sep/08/bext-xi-united-city-manchester-derby

Rooney? Kolarov starting as a center back with no Bailly?
 

JimBoSox9

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It took me a decent amount of time to figure out what was going on there. At first I was aghast at Zlatan's blatant favoritism.
 

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First 9 league games:

2013-14 - David Moyes: 14 points
2016-17 - Jose Mourinho: 14 points

And Moyes won games 10 and 11, so Jose could fall behind the pace.
 

Zomp

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More worrying is the injury to Bailly. Jose said its "ligaments in the knee" but I have a hard time understand how he'd know the severity directly after the game. I hope he made it worse than it sounded because he's been our best defender and that was even before Smalling and Blind had shockers yesterday.
 

Zomp

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Something interesting (I think, anyways) came from Mourinho's post match interview and press conference.

He specifically went out of his way to praise Ashley Young, Phil Jones, and Paul Pogba as players who were "very brave" to stand up and play the full 90 minutes (yes I know Pogba was subbed) when they may not have been prepared to. He said some players are "influenced by some culture issues" and he said its not just the players who are influenced by the issues. When pressed in the in the press conference he said in ANY sport, high level athletes always compete with pain, when they are not at 100%. He then stressed it was the club he was talking about that had cultural issues, that he needed to change them.


This is coming after some journalists are reporting Luke Shaw had asked not to play today. Mourinho's reputation has always been one of a guy that prefers warriors to artists. You're either a Mourinho type player, or you aren't. I'm not saying Shaw has no future here, because he's still so young as has a lot of potential, but Mourinho picked him out for an error at the beginning of the season and now he's saying his players need to be prepared to play with pain. Shaw has struggled since he's come back from injury, even saying he's been below par, so it will be interesting to see what happens to a player that they spent so much money on and is still so young.

Other people are speculating that Martial and Smalling could have an issue with Mourinho as well. I don't know. I think the players have to adjust (after all, its been 3 managers now, 2 of which have very good if not stellar reputations) to his methods of they'll face the boot. Its definitely a stark contrast to Louis "Even after you've recovered you need two weeks to reach full fitness to play" Van Gaal.
 

Zomp

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He just came back from injury. He was starting to be a mainstay before he was injured and I see no reason why he won't be one of the first names on the team sheet as long as he doesn't get injured. Everything I've read about him says that he, more than most, is a confidence player. I'd say he has a bit of it after the goal he scored today.
 

Zomp

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9 wins on the bounce for United and unbeaten in 15. The schedule hasn't been the strongest but you can only play who they put in front of you. It says a lot about the levels of the top 6 that United haven't risen at all in the standings.

Big game on Sunday vs Liverpool. A win probably puts them in the conversation of title aspirations while a loss means it will be difficult to get into the top 4. Zlatan was ill for yesterday's match but should be fit for Sunday.

Its funny, if you told a fan that we'd be in 6th at this point in the season back in July I think they'd be suicidal, but the mood around the club has risen greatly over this streak and optimism is high. Mourinho has a lot to do with that and I don't think its a surprise that after he switched to a 4-3-3 we went on this streak. Pogba has been the best player on the field in almost every game and the defense has looked solid even with Smalling's injury and Bailly off to the ACON.

Schneiderlin to Everton should be done in the next few days, and it will be the fourth highest fee for a United player. I'm disappointed it didn't work out for him. Maybe I was off from the beginning but I envisioned him playing sort of like Herrera does now. Switching managers didn't help but looking back on his time I was shocked that he STARTED 25 league games last year...it just seemed very underwhelming when he had the chance. Now that Mourinho has settled on the Pogba/Herrera/Carrick midfield his time was going to be very limited. Its a no brainer for Everton and Koeman though.

Mourinho is as frank as I've ever seen when it comes to transfers. In the summer he said he identified four players and brought all of them in with little hassle. Over the past few weeks he said if players want to leave they are free to do so, openly talking about Schneiderlin and Memphis as if they will be sold. Recently he's said he expects a quiet January for incoming transfers but they plan to "attack" the transfer window during the summer. Griezmann rumors won't die, though I have no idea where he'd play, while Tiemoue Bakayoko is the latest name being thrown around as the heir apparent to Carrick.

No Mane is huge for Liverpool on Sunday. I was terrified of him running at pace vs Blind or Darmian. Two of the most inform teams in the league which just happens to be the biggest rivalry in England. Sign me up.

I'd go for:



---------------------DDG-------------------
Tony V----Jones-----Smalling---Blind
--------------------Carrick-----------------
------Herrera----------------Pogba--------
Mikhi------------ZLATAN----------Tony Martial
 

coremiller

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9 wins on the bounce for United and unbeaten in 15. The schedule hasn't been the strongest but you can only play who they put in front of you. It says a lot about the levels of the top 6 that United haven't risen at all in the standings.

Big game on Sunday vs Liverpool. A win probably puts them in the conversation of title aspirations while a loss means it will be difficult to get into the top 4. Zlatan was ill for yesterday's match but should be fit for Sunday.
United are definitely in the top 4 mix, but their title aspirations are almost certainly over. 10 points down with five teams in front of them is just too big a deficit to come back from. Even if they play at a 90 points/per season pace the rest of the way (which is title-winning form), they'd still only finish on 82 points, which is almost certainly not going to be enough.
 

Zomp

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Looks like Memphis is off to Lyon for 19 million pounds, rising to 22 with add-ons.

Happy that United have a buy back option on him (I can't remember if we've ever had one on a player) because he's immensely talented.
 

Zomp

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First (well, second if you count the Community Shield...) trophy of the season yesterday goes to United. The plastic treble dream continues.

Outplayed for the first 60 minutes of the game, Mourinho brought on Carrick to control the midfield and push Pogba further up the field. Pogba can play in a midfield two, but it really limits his skill set. He was the furthest midfielder up the field once Carrick came on which meant he could dictate play a bit more. I think we're starting to see a trend with Mourinho's United...against lesser teams he'll go with a 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-4-2. Herrera and Pogba in the middle with 4 of Zlatan, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Mata, Lingard, or Rooney ahead (preferably in that order). Against bigger teams he'll go back to what he's done in the unbeaten run and play Carrick behind Ander/Pogba.


There aren't enough words to describe how important Zlatan has been to us this season.
 

Zomp

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Nothing official from the club yet but various sources, including Duncan Castles who is pretty close to Mourinho, are reporting that Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are both done for the season. In Zlatan's case he may be injured for up to 8 months.


If true, its a shame for both players and for the club. Rojo always looked a little lost at left back but really came into his own over the last 15 games or so partnering Bailly in the center of defense. He was always one split second away from getting sent off but somehow got away with it most of the time.

Zlatan is a huge blow for the club. At points in the season we over relied on him to deliver and more often than not he did. 41 starts, 5 sub appearances, 28 goals, 9 assists at the age of 35.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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There are some people saying Zlatan did his ACL and PCL. If so, you have to wonder if that is game over for his European career and potentially Hello MLS. He was talking about LA as a possibility. If he is going to be out until next January/February that would actually be well timed for the start of the 2018 MLS season.
 

bosox4283

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Sid Lowe is reporting that there Griezmann has said that there is a 6 out of 10 chance he ends up at ManU. Lowe did not include the source in his tweet, but I think the assumption is that ManU needs to win the Europa League and thus enter Champions for Griezmann to make the move.
 
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Zomp

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I think it's from a radio interview but yeah he said 6/10 United, 7/10 Atleti and 0/10 Zidane. You're right. I think it all depends on EL and if we win it.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I think this is the source, not a tweet but some French TV appearance.

I'm not convinced it rests on the Europa league final. He seems to be conveying that he might go there and doesn't know, which is really the only thing he can say at this point. I bet it rests on wages more than anything else.
 

Zomp

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Well if it rests on wages he's coming here. I mean we got Pogba without Champions League but I don't know if Griezmann would come. It would be nice though.
 

Zomp

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I'm trying to think of a bigger game for United than Wednesday's Europa League final. The Champions League finals against Barca were bigger as far as the attraction but there is so much riding on this game that I has me a nervous wreck.

Win and we're in the group stages of the Champions League. Lose and its Europa League again.

Win and Jose is a genius, prioritizing Europa League over the Premier League. Lose and his first season at United is a failure by any measurement.

Win, and Griezmann looks likely to join. Lose, maybe not.


I haven't watched a single Ajax match this year so I can't comment on how they'll play in the final but I'm guessing they won't be very defensive. On one hand that could play into United's strengths, on the other if they blitz United's third and fourth choice center back pairing we're in a lot trouble. Jose's team selection should be pretty clear, with the only questions of who plays alongside Daily Blind and the choice between 2 of Fellaini, Mata, Martial.

I'll go with


------------------------------Romero---------------------------
Tony V -----------Smalling-------Blind---------------Darmian
------------------------------Herrera-----------------------------
--------------Fellaini-----------------------Pogba------------------
Mkhitaryan----------------Rashford----------------------Lingard
 

The Needler

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Will this match go on? Not sure what European precedent is for this kind of thing. I would imagine MU would be given the option to postpone.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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They made Dortmund play the day after their bus was bombed, didn't they?

FIFA probably can't reschedule something unless there's a bribe involved.
 

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I know you can only beat who is put in front of you, but it annoys me how good of a draw they got. Compare the opponents in the knockout rounds to Liverpool's from the previous year.

Manchester United 16-17:
St Etienne (8th in France)
Rostov (6th in Russia)
Anderlecht (1st in Belgium)
Celta Vigo (13th in Spain)
Ajax (2nd in Holland)

Liverpool 15-16:
Augsburg (12th in Germany)
Manchester United (5th in England)
Borussia Dortmund (2nd in Germany)
Villarreal (4th in Spain)
Sevilla (7th in Spain)

One opponent from the top 3 leagues (and they finished 13th), while Liverpool played one in every round.
 

Bailey10

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Final win was reportedly worth over 50 million pounds. With his deflected game-winner, Pogba covered over half the cost of his transfer fee in one match.
 
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I know you can only beat who is put in front of you, but it annoys me how good of a draw they got. Compare the opponents in the knockout rounds to Liverpool's from the previous year.

Manchester United 16-17:
St Etienne (8th in France)
Rostov (6th in Russia)
Anderlecht (1st in Belgium)
Celta Vigo (13th in Spain)
Ajax (2nd in Holland)

Liverpool 15-16:
Augsburg (12th in Germany)
Manchester United (5th in England)
Borussia Dortmund (2nd in Germany)
Villarreal (4th in Spain)
Sevilla (7th in Spain)

One opponent from the top 3 leagues (and they finished 13th), while Liverpool played one in every round.
Liverpool lost to the 7th best team in the final whereas Jose beat the 2nd best team in Holland