Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has questioned the media's treatment of his team compared to Liverpool, using the highly questionable example of the recent reaction to Liverpool's defeat to Arsenal.
It's been a difficult season for Chelsea and Pochettino after the club spent big once again during the summer transfer window, including paying out well over £160m on defensive midfielders alone.
Despite their mid-table struggles, recent reports claim that the Blues' hierarchy are not planning to sack Pochettino (yet anyway) with the Argentine apparently set to remain in his post for the Carabao Cup final when they face Liverpool on 25 February.
The pressure appears to be getting to Pochettino, however. Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup replay against Aston Villa, the former Tottenham boss called out the media for their negative coverage of his reign at Stamford Bridge, while making a nonsensical comparison with Liverpool.
He told reporters: "I am a coach, huh? A head coach and sometimes we can make a mistake but that is football, that happened and we need to keep moving and stay strong. I think we have very good group of players. [But] for different reasons, like I have explained, we are not performing in the way people expect and always when the expectation is different to the reality, it is difficult to get what you deserve.
"That is why the patience never arrived.
"After losing against Liverpool, it was: 'oh massive, massive fail. Look [at] Chelsea, how bad'. And of course, they lose now, Liverpool, against Arsenal and I didn't listen [to] nothing about that there is a similar result when we played against Liverpool,
"Look, what happened against Liverpool is affecting the players because we are a team that need confidence and all of the support. The people need to realise the situation and we cannot send different messages to the people, and the people believe that things have not happened."
Pochettino's attempt to drag Liverpool down with him doesn't really hold up under scrutiny.
While the Reds were undoubtedly poor against Arsenal in Sunday's 3-1 defeat — and received largely fair criticism for it in the resulting media coverage — Jurgen Klopp's side remain top of the Premier League and have lost just twice this season. For that reason, it's would be hard for any would-be naysayers to pile in on the Reds.
Chelsea, meanwhile, sit 20 points behind Liverpool and have lost ten times in the league already in 2023/24 — including the 4-1 at Anfield last month.
Following the 4-2 defeat at home to Wolves, Pochettino now has a (frankly dreadful) record of 14 wins, six draws and 11 defeats across 31 matches, while his win percentage (45) is actually below former manager Frank Lampard’s (52).
Chelsea's Premier League points tally after 23 games under Pochettino (31) is also only three better than Graham Potter managed before he was sacked after 22 games, while the Englishman oversaw just eight losses in his time as Blues head coach.
The differences between Liverpool and Chelsea could not be more stark, with the only similarity between the clubs being that they will both be travelling to Wembley at the end of the month.
Based on form any Reds will be hoping that Pochettino will still be in charge when 25 February rolls around.