STEVEN CAULKER has revealed he was left “sh***** himself” before his Liverpool debut – when Jurgen Klopp threw him on as a striker against Arsenal.
The defender was a surprise loan signing from QPR in Klopp’s first season as Liverpool manager.
But things were not going well off the pitch for the star and he has opened up in recent days over his issue with alcohol.
Caulker had been drinking the night before the Anfield clash with Arsenal and wondered if he was even sober enough to play.
But events would take an even stranger turn when Klopp famously subbed him on to play up front – with Liverpool nicking a dramatic late draw.
Caulker told the popular Under the Cosh podcast: “I was sh***** myself and thought ‘I’m gonna start here.’ Because they had seven centre-halves out injured.
“And I was thinking ‘Oh my God, am I even sober? How the f*** am I going to do this? That train journey up, I was panicking because I hadn’t been taking care of myself, I was a mess.
“I don’t remember who played centre-half but [Klopp] put someone else in. He said to me ‘go warm up’ but we were losing 3-2. But he said ‘no, you’re coming on. I’m going to put you up front’.
“We ended up getting the equaliser and after the game he just came over high-fiving me [and saying] that they all think it’s crazy until it works.”
Caulker made himself a nuisance in the box in his cameo appearance but it was Adam Lallana who volleyed home in the dying seconds of the game.
The two players would also be at the centre of another dramatic finale only 10 days later.
Norwich had drawn level with the Reds at Carrow Road to make it 4-4 in stoppage time.
But then Caulker – again playing in an advanced position – would see his effort blocked before Lallana scored an incredible late winner.
Caulker, now 31, would move to clubs in Scotland and Turkey before eventually coming home earlier this year as he joined Championship side Wigan.