Sporting Advent Calendar #14: Steven Gerrard’s untimely slip
We go again? Hmmm . . . not quite. Patrick Madden looks back on the day Liverpool’s dreams unravelled
Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard dejected after that miscontrol and slip against Chelsea. Photograph: Peter Powell / EPA
“Right, this does not f*****g slip. Hey! Listen to me, this does not f*****g slip. This is gone, we go Norwich exactly the same. We go again.”
When Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-2 at Anfield back in April Brendan Rodgers’s team were on the cusp of making history.
They were two points clear with four games to go and had the chance to bring the title to Merseyside for the first time in 24 years, their destiny was in their own hands.
After the game, Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard gathered his troops and delivered his war cry: it wasn’t over yet, they would have to go again.
A week later Liverpool did just that. They went to Norwich and they went again, winning 3-2 at Carrow Road to open up a five-point lead at the top. They were almost there.
Chelsea at home presented the last real hurdle for Liverpool on their seemingly unstoppable surge to the title. The team coach arrived at Anfield on April 27th to be greeted by thousands of fans with banners and red smoke bombs, “We’re gonna win the league” was no longer whispered but belted out with real belief.
The game started and Mourinho’s Chelsea looked to frustrate. Liverpool dictated the play and probed away but the blue wall wouldn’t move.
On the stroke of half time Mamadou Sakho played a simple ball inside to Steven Gerrard. Gerrard’s first touch was poor and, as he went to recover, it happened - he slipped.
Demba Ba pounced to race through and score in front of The Kop.
Despite Gerrard’s best Roy of the Rovers act in the second half, Liverpool couldn’t break Chelsea down, and as they huffed and puffed Willian scampered through late on to seal a 2-0 win.
The impetus in the title race had gone back to Manchester City as, although they’d been mullering teams all season, they were eight goals worse off than their rivals courtesy of their generous defending throughout.
A week later, Liverpool went to Selhurst Park and threw away a three-goal lead and that was all she wrote, the best chance of the league in a generation was gone.
2014 was a year which promised so much for Liverpool but has proved to be an annus horribilis, and as brilliant a career as Steven Gerrard has had, it looks like the one medal he wants more than any other is going to elude him.
It’s worth noting that five days before Gerrard slipped, David Moyes was sacked as manager of Manchester United. Nothing’s gone quite right for Liverpool since.