RYAN GIGGS once rather haughtily stated that Manchester United would never ‘do a Liverpool’ and go from the best side in the country to strugglers laughed at by rival fans.

Well the Welshman was wrong in 2011 and the Old Trafford outfit are falling faster, further and harder than the Merseysiders ever did, so much so that the axe fell on Jose Mourinho on Tuesday morning.

 

The Kop’s 3-1 mauling is only part of the story. The truth is United are a mess on and off the pitch and with Mourinho raging against not just the dimming but the dying of his light that it has been extinguished by Ed Woodward is no surprise.

What is worrying for United is they have become like other failing clubs, chopping and changing managers as a quick fix rather than sort the root cause of the problem.

Paul Pogba tweeting then swiftly deleting a picture of him smirking as the news was announced highlights the difficult job the next man will have.

Sunday will be remembered as the day the final strands unraveled for Jose.

Jurgen Klopp’s Red men recorded 36 shots against Mourinho’s men – the most the Red Devils have faced in a Premier League match since Opta started recording shot data in 2003-04.

If that stat is damning the fact leaders Liverpool are now 19 POINTS ahead of United – their biggest ever lead over them after the first 17 games of an English top-flight season – must sting like hell.

And that United have picked up just 26 points, their worst points haul in the top-flight at this stage since 1990-91, will also hurt.

Two moments in the match summed up United’s current plight. Romelu Lukaku being muscled off the ball early doors by Virgil van Dijk to huge cheers from the Anfield faithful and Marouane Fellaini capping a nightmare day by hitting a steward sitting in the corner with a hilariously wayward shot.

Lukaku clearly didn’t fancy it after losing that first duel and had just 20 touches after that – the fewest he has ever had in 90 minutes – and not for the first time at United look bereft of confidence and form.

Still at least he played, unlike Pogba, who was going through a rather public humiliation at the hands of his former manager who used the bench as a kind of naughty step.

The three goals that Liverpool put past them means United have now conceded 29 goals in 17 league games – one more than they did the ENTIRE of last season.

Mourinho picked five defenders in his starting 11 but even that was not enough as Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri found a way through.

Mane is a wonderful player and his chest control and finish from Fabinho’s brilliant lofted pass was pure class.

Alisson – hero midweek to keep Liverpool’s Champions League dreams alive against Napoli – gifted Jesse Lingard the leveller but unlike years gone by there was never any danger of United getting anything out of this game.

The Reds simply stepped up a gear and Mourinho’s side were reduced to desperate measures – throwing bodies on the line – and when you do that there is always the danger of a deflection.

Shaqiri is like someone sprinkled angel dust on a battle orc and it was the Swiss supersub who forced two such deflections – first off Ashley Young and then Eric Bailly.

He became just the second Liverpool player to score at least two goals in their first ever match against United and the first since Nigel Clough did so back in January 1994.

The warning signs about Mourinho were there following his poisonous second spell at Chelsea and rows at Real Madrid. United knew what they were getting when they appointed the dour Portuguese in May 2016.

They would sacrifice the dream of attacking football for trophies and regain their rightful status as despised and envied serial winners. Nobody signed up for despised and pitied.

It was only ever heading one way for Mourinho while Liverpool – 14 points better off than they were at this stage last season – are going in completely the opposite direction.

Whisper it quietly but the last time the Reds were unbeaten in their first 17 games was 1987-88 when they went on to be crowned champions.

THERE were two other big results in the Premier League which will have a bearing on the teams fighting to finish top four.

Christian Eriksen saved Spurs skins with a 90th-minute winner against Burnley, while Arsenal were stunned 3-2 by Southampton as on-loan striker Danny Ings grabbed a brace.

Yet more good news for Liverpool – Ings’ parent club – where the popular forward’s fortunes are still closely followed.

In this week of total contrasts for Britain’s two biggest clubs, the only way Manchester United will be in the top four over Christmas is to bring out a record!

ENGLISH clubs were handed a mixed bag in their European draws.

In the Champions League Jose Mourinho will already be having nightmares about Phil Jones, Marcus Rojo & Co up against Paris Saint-Germain front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

Noisy neighbours City have an infinitely better future – in more ways than one – having drawn Schalke, while Liverpool and Spurs will be battling German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

AND finally rather aptly this close to Christmas it was a case of Jesus Twice Superstar for Manchester City.

 The Brazil striker hit a double as Pep Guardiola’s champions beat Everton 3-1. It was his first league goals for four months – like his namesake he must have thought it was his birthday!

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