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By ESPN Staff
Sep 15, 2006

Mourinho ready to make it up with Rafa

COBHAM, England, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Champions Chelsea will be purely out for the points rather than to settle any scores with Liverpool when they meet on Sunday, according to Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho.

The two teams have met 11 times in two years since Mourinho arrived in England, leading to a rivalry among players and a few waspish exchanges between Portuguese Mourinho and Liverpool's Spanish coach Rafael Benitez.

Trying to draw the heat from Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho told reporters on Friday: 'It's one of 38 games. If you beat Liverpool and next week you lose against Fulham that's no good.

'The Premiership is about points and points and points, week after week.

'Maybe this match is a little bit more because, if you win, then a direct opponent is not winning points. But overall, it's 38 matches and this is one more game.'

Chelsea players feel they have had the better of the encounters overall, including four straight wins in the league.

However, Liverpool can claim to have won the more important fixtures, beating their opponents in the semi-finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Liverpool, who also beat Chelsea 2-1 in the Community Shield in August, have made a string of signings since last season, when they lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the league.

Brushing aside Liverpool's recruits, who include forwards Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt, plus winger Jermaine Pennant, Mourinho said: 'Their signings are not my problem. I think they are the same.

'They are a difficult team to play against, a difficult team to beat. Sometimes we do it, sometimes we don't. But by saying they are a difficult team I think I say a lot.'

The rivalry has been marked by incidents such as Liverpool keeper Jose Reina accusing Arjen Robben of diving to get him sent off last season and Liverpool's fury at a bad tackle by Chelsea's Michael Essien on Dietmar Hamann.

The relationship between the two managers has been strained at times.

Mourinho was lukewarm about suggestions of a public handshake between himself and Benitez, while the Spaniard was equally non-committal.

'For me important is the game, is Liverpool and Chelsea, it's not Benitez and Mourinho. I agree with that completely,' Mourinho said.

'But shake hands? It depends. If it is not with feeling and is just for the picture or the camera, I'm not ready for that. I don't care what people see or say, I don't care about the image -- I care about human feelings.

'If the feeling is positive and we realise that in the past some comments shouldn't be made, I'm more than ready for that... But in front of the cameras just for the pictures? I'm not the man for that.'

Benitez, speaking in Liverpool, told reporters: 'I don't know if what has happened between us about the handshakes is personal. But if he wants, I will shake his hand.

'I still have the same opinion now about him that I had when I first came to England. That opinion is that he is a very good manager with a very good team and great players.

'Always I say the same, but he prefers to talk about our team. I prefer to talk about my team and the game.'

Chelsea are fourth in the table on nine points -- three behind leaders Manchester United -- and Liverpool are 10th, having taken four points from three games.