IN the week that ‘Squeaky bum time’ entered the Oxford English Dictionary, Jurgen Klopp is about to discover exactly what Sir Alex Ferguson was talking about all those years ago.
Trouble is, Fergie was referring to the nervous final few games of the season when titles are won or lost.
Liverpool could be out of the title race in the next few weeks with Arsenal and Man City up nextCredit: Rex
Arteta’s Arsenal are sat top of the leagueCredit: Rex
Guardiola will go head-to-head with his former apprentice, Arteta, for the Premier League crownCredit: Rex
Not the first week of October, with over three quarters of the campaign still to be played.
Some might argue that they are already too far behind the top two to stage a comeback.
While those gloomy forecasts might seem a little premature, there is no getting away from the importance of the next nine days for Klopp.
Because unless they can get their act together immediately, there is every chance that they will find themselves 16 points behind City and 17 adrift of Arsenal before the clocks even go back to signal the end of British Summer Time.
Right now, they are languishing in ninth, just above Brentford and Everton on goal difference.
They have conceded the first goal in nine of their last 11 league games — and have an appetite for self-destruction which should have them on suicide watch.
All the more remarkable, then, that they have only lost one league game in 2022, which is testimony to their powers of recovery if nothing else.
But having to stage a fightback on an almost weekly basis is draining the life out of Liverpool’s ageing players
And it’s not as if they can still blame injuries for all their troubles, because most of their absent stars have now returned to action — and without any discernible improvement in results.
Whole forests have been chopped down to cover the recent newspaper debates over right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold’s qualities.
But defensive rock Virgil van Dijk is suddenly just rocky, while Mo Salah has now developed ‘Ozil syndrome’ and largely gone missing in action since signing his £350,000-a-week contract in the summer.
Darwin Nunez has struggled to cope with the constant comparisons to City cyborg Erling Haaland — and Klopp is already wondering if he kept the receipt for deadline-day signing Arthur Melo.
The only Reds players performing on a consistent basis are Alisson and Luis Diaz.
Yet victory at the Emirates on Sunday is not beyond them, particularly given the record between the teams.
Since Klopp was appointed in October 2015, his side have lost just one of 17 competitive games against Arsenal, scoring 46 in the process.
So history suggests another Liverpool win, even if the current form book says otherwise.
But anything less than three points will leave them with a mountain to climb and the horrifying prospect of their title dreams receiving the last rites at Anfield next weekend.
And that is certainly enough to get all Scouse bums squeaking.
RON CAN BOSS IT
WITH Wolves looking for a new boss and Cristiano Ronaldo with a face like a slapped arse on the United bench, why not kill two birds with one stone and make him Molineux player-manager?
He’s Portuguese and has Jorge Mendes for an agent, so he certainly ticks all the right boxes.
And you suspect that Manchester United chief Erik ten Hag would be glad to see the back of the grumpy old GOAT after initially blocking his Old Trafford exit.
Trouble is, clubs aren’t exactly queuing up to sign a petulant 37-year-old who throws his toys out of the pram every time he doesn’t get his own way.
But that wouldn’t be a problem if he moved into management, because he could pick himself for every minute of every game and always be the centre of attention.
So now it’s just a simple matter of funding those £360,000-a-week wages and persuading his partner to move to the Black Country.
Ronaldo is having a tough season at UnitedCredit: EPA
I HAVE never understood the appeal of running in the London Marathon and the chance to finish 8,000th behind someone dressed as an emu.
And even the millions of pounds raised for charity do not completely offset the nightmare prospect of getting stuck next to the pub bore droning on about his split times.
But I had to take my hat off to the bloke who sprinted to the front of Sunday’s elite race to get himself on TV and win a long-standing bet with his mates.
And even though he wasn’t able to maintain his lead beyond the first 100 metres, at least he made it all the way to the finishing line.
Fancy dress is a common theme at the London MarathonCredit: The Mega Agency
MR OR MRS BENN
WHY all the fuss about Conor Benn testing positive for the female fertility drug clomifene?
Perhaps the poor guy has simply been trying to get pregnant.
Although I have to say fighting with a baby on board isn’t advisable.
But if boxing can virtually turn a blind eye to Tyson Fury and Canelo Alvarez failing drugs tests in highly dubious circumstances, it’s little wonder so many in the sport were happy for Benn’s catchweight contest with Chris Eubank Jr to proceed.
Benn failed a drugs test and his fight with Eubank Jr has been postponedCredit: Alamy
REAL MADRID chief Florentino Perez says football is sick — and that a European Super League is the only cure.
But everyone knows that horse has well and truly bolted after England’s self-appointed Big Six got their fingers so badly burned last year.
Doctor Flo is fooling nobody but himself, Barcelona and Juventus if he thinks anyone else will board that bandwagon again.
Perez says the Super League is football’s cureCredit: EPA
JUST last week I pointed out how managers hate having tactics questioned.
And on cue Antonio Conte reacted to criticism of Spurs’ loss to Arsenal.
Not sure what ‘youse are all idiots’ is in Italian but Djed Spence’s sister might want to axe social media.
Spence is struggling to break into Tottenham’s starting line-upCredit: Getty
MAN UTD’S 6-3 defeat at the Etihad was the eighth time in 12 months that they have conceded at least four goals in the Premier League.
Maybe they should ask Vladimir Putin for advice. He knows all about the Red Army’s crumbling defence.
Man Utd conceded six against rivals Man City on the weekendCredit: EPA
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