Jose Mourinho has started to fan the flames ahead of Tottenham’s crunch clash with Liverpool at Anfield, with the Portuguese rubbishing claims that the Reds are suffering an injury crisis.
For the Spurs boss, his opposite number, Jurgen Klopp, is contending with just one “big injury”.
He concedes that Netherlands international Virgil van Dijk is almost impossible to replace, with the Dutch defender having been sidelined with knee ligament damage since October.
Klopp has since lost the likes of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara, James Milner and Diogo Jota to unfortunate knocks, with Liverpool’s squad being tested to the full.
The Premier League champions have, however, invested heavily in ensuring that they boast the required strength in depth.
With that in mind, and with there still an abundance of riches at Klopp’s disposal, Mourinho is not buying that the Reds are in trouble.
He told reporters ahead of a meeting between the Premier League’s top two on Wednesday: “Give me Liverpool's list of injuries and compare that with what is the best Liverpool team.
“Liverpool has a big injury, which is Van Dijk.”
Tottenham have had to contend with injuries of their own this season, with Gareth Bale not yet up to full speed after returning to north London on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.
Quizzed on whether the Welshman could figure against Liverpool, Mourinho said: “We still have a training session. Yesterday (Monday) he didn't train with the team, he trained inside. At the moment I'd say no, but we'll see.”
While a lack of sharpness is keeping Bale stuck on the sidelines, England international midfielder Harry Winks is seeing fierce competition for places deny him regular game time.
Asked if the 24-year-old has sought an explanation for his lack of minutes, Mourinho said: “Yes, he came to me. Not just him. Many players come to me.
“I have my office on the first floor and a little space on the ground floor by the dressing room to make it so easy for them. Yes, Winks came to speak with me, yes.”
Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso are among those keeping Winks out, with that pair battling between themselves for a starting berth.
Pressed on that selection call, which has been seeing a France international get the nod, Mourinho said: “It's not difficult. Difficult is when you don't have any one of them.
“Can they play together? Yes. The physical condition for both is very important. To play with the two together, we need them to be fit and play with the right intensity. And they will.
“I'm not saying tomorrow or Sunday or next week but they will play together. It's not a problem when I have both growing up and playing quite well.”