José Mourinho admits he is in the dark over possible January signings

• Manchester United manager does not know if club will back him
• Mourinho describes Liverpool as ‘lucky ones’ and praises Salah

José Mourinho has made the surprise admission that he does not know if Manchester United will back him in the January transfer window.

United arrive at Liverpool for Sunday’s game having taken only six points from their past five Premier League matches and the manager is eager to add to his squad but says he is unsure whether the Old Trafford hierarchy will invest in recruits. “I don’t know if we are going to have new players – I would like to – but I don’t know if it is possible or not. It depends on the club,” he said, adding that his immediate aim is winning matches. “Honestly, I’m focused on my job of playing Liverpool and next week playing Cardiff, and I’m more focused on that.”

Mourinho said Liverpool have been lucky this season, though did admit his successful teams also benefited from a measure of good fortune. “They are very confident about themselves,” Mourinho said. “They are top of the league, they have this feeling of – I know that feeling well – the feeling of the ‘lucky ones’ where everything goes in your direction.

“They know how they beat Everton [a late Divock Origi strike], they know that the last match, the opening goal was offside [in the 4-0 win over Bournemouth], and they know that against Napoli in the last seconds they could be out [referring to Alisson’s save]. They have this feeling, that I also had when my teams were top of the league, that it looks like everything goes in your direction.”

He does, however, believe Liverpool will respect United. “I think they are obviously very confident,” he said. “But I think they are not stupid. I think they know the match they have is difficult. They also know that we have our weaknesses, our strengths, and I think they will respect our strengths.

“If they don’t do that, I will be happy with that. But they know that the game is very difficult for them. They know that they need every point if they want to be champions so I think they are professionals and being professionals is respecting Manchester United. They know that we can go there and win.”

Mourinho described Mo Salah’s threat to his team as “nuclear”. “Every match we try to analyse opponents, the strengths and the weaknesses, and when you go to Liverpool they have many strengths, but of course he is nuclear in the strength,” he said of the last season’s top scorer, who has 13 goals in 23 appearance this time round. “So do we have to speak and think about him? I think we have to think about him. Of course we have to think about him and think of the best way to cope with a fantastic player like he is.”

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Mourinho managed Salah when at Chelsea and believes he has now matured. “I remember I played him at White Hart Lane and at the Etihad and it was too much for him. Now he plays everywhere against any team – he can go to Barcelona, can go to Madrid and he plays like: ‘I am Mo-Mo-Salah and I am afraid of no one and nobody.’”