When Liverpool had a chance to win the Premier League in 2013/14, something bad happened. After famously telling his pals that “this does not f***ing slip now”, Steven Gerrard only went and bloody slipped, didn’t he. You literally could write it.
Five years on from that calamity, Liverpool are again within touching distance. And while the future’s not ours to see, it’s possible that someone in Jurgen Klopp’s side is going to fall on their arse – literally or otherwise – and ruin everything.
But who are the most likely candidates? Some members of the squad experienced the 2013/14 collapse first hand and still carry those scars. A few, lacking the experience of winning titles, could buckle under pressure. Others just seem prone to falling over.
Ranked from least to most likely, these are Liverpool’s potential slippers… *cue Underworld*
20. Georginio Wijnaldum
Once a player who could score four goals in a match for Newcastle, Wijnaldum is now a rock-solid midfielder whose role explicitly involves not slipping. He’s really good, really calm and his name doesn’t rhyme with any Doris Day songs.
19. Divock Origi
Origi isn’t a brilliant striker, but luck has been on this side this season. If he can conjure the ball from above the crossbar like he did against Everton at Anfield, the Belgian can stay on his feet for the entirety of a five-minute substitute appearance.
18. Xherdan Shaqiri
Liverpool’s loveable cube won’t be letting anyone down this season. So low is Shaqiri’s centre of gravity, the Swiss probably struggles to fall into bed at night.
17. Daniel Sturridge
One of a few survivors from the 2013/14 season, Sturridge came off the bench in Liverpool’s infamous defeat to Chelsea. He’s seen the horrors up close, but one suspects he won’t be near the team if Klopp can help it.
16. Adam Lallana
Lallana isn’t immune to the dangers of turf. Paying homage to Iago Aspas, he once ended up on his knees while taking a corner.
It’s hard to see the Englishman playing a significant role this season, which is a shame because his name almost rhymes with “banana”, giving it serious potential.
The Brazilian midfielder had a stinking start to life at Liverpool but looks to have found his groove. Not in a literal sense, although neat furrows in the Anfield turf might have prevented Gerrard’s infamous fall.
14. Naby Keita
Keita grew up idolising Titi Camara, who spent the Merseyside derby build-up exchanging unpleasantries with Everton fan (and retired boxer) Tony Bellew. But no knockout blow coming his way, you’d think.
13. Virgil van Dijk
The most reliable centre-back in Liverpool if not the world (apologies to Dejan Lovren), Van Dijk could still slip. He should really get a potential mistake out of his system by scoring a Djimi Traoré-style own goal when 5-0 up, thus proving he’s human after all.
12. James Milner
Milner is as laughably reliable as the ironing board he’s loveably promoted on Twitter, but don’t forget that his Manchester City team won the league at Liverpool’s expense in 2013/14. A good omen or a bad one?
11. Sadio Mané
The only real threat posed by Mané is his tendency to imitate team-mates. Copying Roberto Firmino’s kung-fu kicks and pistol hands is funny, but doing the same for Stevie G’s belly flop would be the ultimate lark.