Liverpool have 'the Big Mo'
Martin O'Neill is a noted criminologist who once used Leicester City's Stateside tour as an opportunity to study the scene of President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas.
So who better than O'Neill to sift through the clues and intrigue of the Premier League title campaign as Liverpool's push gained ominous momentum by thrashing his fading Aston Villa at Anfield?
O'Neill, normally a picture of hyperactive perpetual motion, looked drained by the harrowing experience as he assembled the various strands of what is becoming an increasingly complicated season finale.
He then made a somewhat unconvincing argument for Manchester United retaining their crown as he said: "I'd have to say the best manager in the world will not let a couple of defeats get under his skin."
O'Neill may well be right - but after a weekend that saw the champions demonstrate incompetence and ill-discipline in equal measure at Fulham, there is no doubt which team is currently being carried along with greater impetus.
In the space of eight days Liverpool have reduced United's lead to one point (having played a game more admittedly), overturned their vastly superior goal difference and suddenly applied huge pressure to a side that seemed to be sailing serenely to another title.
United still hold the upper hand, but as O'Neill said in his post-match debriefing with a whole truck load of understatement: "It will be tight. It is interesting again."
It was hard not to feel a measure of sympathy for O'Neill's own plight as Villa's bid to muscle in on the top-four action is being fatally undermined by tired legs and the greater squad strength of his rivals for a place in that elite group.
He sat with glasses off and rubbing slowly at his temples before summoning up some defiance about the remainder of Villa's season - but the game looks to be up as far as the Champions League is concerned.
O'Neill may do things differently if he had his time again. Would he have signed more players than just Emile Heskey in January? Should he have played a stronger team in the Uefa Cup - especially as a return to that competition in its new guise looks like it will be their reward for another season of progress?
Liverpool, in contrast, have - in the words of another former American president George Bush senior - "The Big Mo". Momentum. Lots of it.
Not that Rafael Benitez looked like a man with momentum. He looked like a man with the hump as he moaned about Liverpool's failure to improve their goal difference by an even greater margin.
"It is really important we take our chances. You know what can happen with goal difference. We were playing against 10 players. We had three or four chances to do better. I wanted more goals. Don't get me wrong..."
Not an easy man to please Mr Benitez. Once he removes his perfectionist mindset, however, he may join the rest of Anfield in sensing we may be on the point of a pivotal twist in the title race.
United, so unflappable for so long, showed vital signs of stress at Fulham. Cristiano Ronaldo's petulance and posturing is wearing thin even among his own fans and Wayne Rooney's hair-trigger temper can lead him into the sort of dark places we saw him occupy at Craven Cottage.
It would take a brave man to bet against United - and I am not that man. United have been too good this season not to recover from recent setbacks and it would be disrespectful to suggest two defeats amount to a meltdown.
Ferguson and his players have run this particular course several times, but pressure can do strange things and United looked under strain at Fulham.
One thing is certain - those of us who thought the title race was over after Liverpool lost to Middlesbrough (guilty as charged) must now think again.
Real Madrid, Manchester United and now Villa have been simply swept aside. Liverpool's fans, resigned to another title failure only a fortnight ago, suddenly appeared driven by the same sense of renewed optimism and hope as their team at Anfield on Sunday.
And there was almost a hidden significance in the manner of Liverpool's victory. It was achieved without any serious contribution from Fernando Torres, earning a second-half penalty apart. Indeed, the great man was almost off-colour by his own standards.
It did not matter. Steven Gerrard can always be relied upon, the presence of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano allowing him to occupy that dangerous free space in and around Torres.
Liverpool have missed opportunities at home before this season. And how they will regret those home draws against Stoke, Fulham, West Ham and Manchester City if they fail to claw back United's slender advantage.
But, seeing the door left ajar by defeats for United and Chelsea, they made no mistake, barging through to establish themselves as a serious threat to the champions.
It may still be too late. United's outstanding squad may still gather themselves and go on to title glory.
But after another perfect weekend for Liverpool, the expectation and anticipation rolled around Anfield at the conclusion of another powerful statement of title intent.