Welcome to Liverpool, Steven Caulker. We all hope that you enjoy going straight from Southampton’s bench to starting against the league leaders and title favourites. And we hope that your hamstrings can survive more than a half of football, because that’s been something of a problem of late.
Whatever happens to Caulker’s hamstrings over the next 24 hours or so, though, we now know that said hamstrings will be running around against the league leaders and title favourites tomorrow evening while their owner wears the number nineteen. If you believe in omens, this might not be the best choice of numbers.
Doubts about Caulker—who the transfer committee once blocked a move for in favour of Mamadou Sakho and who spent the last two seasons at clubs that got relegated before making the move to Southampton’s bench on loan this year—abound. And the number he’ll be wearing doesn’t exactly have a storied history.
Most recently, unfavoured loanee Javier Manquillo wore the nineteen. Before that it was Stewart Downing’s number. Before that, Ryan Babel and Fernando Morientes had it. And before that, it belonged to Pegguy Arphexad. Liverpool’s best to wear the number was probably backup goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
Questionable number choice aside and despite a poor recent record, at one time Caulker was a highly rated Tottenham prospect and one of the top young English centre halves. Plus he’s still only 24 years old. The hope, then, will be that he can rediscover something of his younger promise over the next six months.
If he can’t, then at least he should stop the club from having to resort to using Jose Enrique at centre half in the league. So that’s something, at least.