London — José Mourinho’s relationship with Manchester United reached the point of irretrievable breakdown a long time ago but the club finally served the divorce papers on Tuesday as the world’s biggest football club sacked one of the game’s most famous managers. The decision came as United laboured to their worst start for 28 years, playing dull, defensive football, with Mourinho cutting an ever-angrier figure after each setback, but Sunday’s 3-1 defeat by Liverpool was one humiliation too far. After decades of being the biggest fish in the English football pond, Manchester United had just about come to terms with the fact that new, bottomless funding had enabled Chelsea and then Manchester City to displace them in terms of spending power and the accumulation of trophies. But when Liverpool, in whose shadow United laboured for so long before Alex Ferguson finally “knocked them off their perch”, brushed them aside on Sunday like the mediocre midtable team they have become, it was th...

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