Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho may be under pressure, but he received a vote of confidence from the stands on Sunday – albeit a rather unwelcome one. The Portuguese received an ironic show of support from a jubilant home fanbase as his Red Devils side once more failed to impress in a timid defeat.
Mourinho and United suffered their second defeat in the space of four days at Anfield as Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners in a one-sided match. The loss leaves the Red Devils a whopping 11 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, while they have already conceded more goals than in the entirety of the 2017-18 Premier League season.
Such adverse form has raised expectations that Mourinho will soon be moving on, confirming once more the ‘third season curse’ that has followed him across his managerial career.
Home fans at the weekend, however, gave him an unexpected show of support. “Don’t sack Mourinho!” was the cry from the Anfield faithful as their rivals slumped to defeat, words that will be of little comfort to the ‘Special One’ as Champions League football, let alone a title challenge, looks an ever more distant dream even at this early stage of the season.
United were on the back foot from almost the first minute on Sunday, with the visitors rarely venturing out of their own half to face a Liverpool team looking for three points that would return them to the Premier League summit.
That conservative approach made little difference early on though, as Sadio Mane swooped to give Jurgen Klopp’s men the lead 24 minutes in with a smart volley steered past David de Gea. The away team then received a shock lifeline, as Alisson spilled an innocuous cross into the path of Jesse Lingard to equalise towards the end of the first half.
Xherdan Shaqiri, however, was to prove deadly off the bench, scoring twice in the space of 10 minutes following his late entry to seal victory for the title-chasing Reds. It is a further blow for United, who went down to Valencia on Wednesday in the Champions League to squander a chance to take top spot in their group ahead of Juventus.
And, with five defeats in the Premier League already this season, the Anfield crowd may soon be heading for disappointment if their rivals move to remove the struggling boss.