TV View: Fellow slip-sufferers Stevie G and JT just about keep the tears at bay
Former Liverpool captain was the odd guest out in a studio of Premier League winners
Steven Gerrard and John Terry’s chat on BT Sport almost turned into a counselling session as both consoled each other on their slips which cost their teams trophies. Photo: Getty Images
Not since 1923, BT Sport’s Jake Humphrey told us, had Liverpool lost four games in a row at home, so having endured a January horribilis, with just a 1-0 win over little Plymouth to show for their efforts from eight games, there was a chance their season would be dead and buried by the time their tussle with Chelsea at Anfield was done and dusted. “Defeat may be terminal in their quest for the title,” he said.
David Luiz, who Steve Macca McManaman chose as his man of the match because “he’s exhumed a lot of calmness today”, almost laid their season to rest with that free-kick, the converting of which appeared to take David Luiz by surprise almost as much as Simon Mignolet, but Liverpool dug deep and got themselves a point in the end.
And Mignolet, of course, half-redeemed himself by saving that Diego Costa spot-kick, and no one was more surprised than Macca. “Normally you’d expect him to score those type of penalties, wouldn’t you,” he said, not explaining what type of penalties you’d expect him to miss.
Any way, while miffed at their relinquishing of their lead and having their penalty saved, Chelsea seemed content enough with their night’s work, a contentment no doubt heightened by news that Arsenal had unimaginably lost at home to Watford. This was a result as shocking to Arsene Wenger as it was to those Fantasy Football managers who, anticipating a home win of a cricket-scoring magnitude, made Alexis Sanchez captain for the night, as well as selecting Theo Walcott (dropped) and Danny Welbeck (not a sign of him, not even on bench). And ended up winning as many points as teams comprised of players who left for China weeks ago.
No matter. The important thing is to bounce back, and that’s exactly what Jake wondered if Liverpool were capable of doing. And he’d assembled a glittering panel to answer the question, “between them over 1,000 Premier League appearances”. Between them, too, seven Premier League titles, Rio Ferdinand (six), Michael Ballack (one) and Steven Gerrard (0).
Before we got going there was time for a chat between Stevie G and John Terry which turned in to a kind of counselling session, both men reminiscing about past slips that had proved highly costly to their clubs and, it would seem, still haunt their every waking hour.
Stevie: “Still to this day it hurts, it will for a long time, probably forever.” John: “I can relate to that, going back to the 2008 Champions League final, I can’t seem to erase it from the brain.” Stevie: “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to.” John: “Over time, it does ease slightly.” Stevie: “I hope so.”
And then John told Stevie that no one deserved to win the Premier League more than him, “what you’ve done in the game has been unbelievable”, the two of them by now perilously close to tears.
Back to the studio and Michael was displaying quite a bit of insensitivity by talking about what is required to win the league while Stevie wistfully stared in to space, and you half feared Rio would whip out his medals and pin them to his chest like a war veteran, just to insert further salt in to the wound.
Come full-time Michael only went and said it: “A draw is enough for Chelsea – that’s how you win titles,” and nobody would have blamed Stevie if he’d opened the studio window and dangled Michael by his ankles over the main stand.
Which, incidentally, is what most BT Sport viewers would like to do to Glenn Hoddle much of the time, the fella having a testing evening during which he told us David Louise scored for Chelsea, something sounding like a Filet Mignon was in goal for Liverpool, and Will.i.am was in the visitor’s midfield. And then he declared that everyone outside Chelsea would like to see Liverpool win the league, leaving BT’s Everton and Manchester United-loving viewers choking on their Hob Nobs. Apart from that, he was grand.
The other bone of contention was provided by Macca when he chose Louise for the man of the match when, as Stevie G politely pointed out, it was quite clearly N’Golo Kante. Michael agreed, describing the fella as “an annoying fly that won’t go away”, a tribute that was up there with that one about 70 per cent of the planet being covered by water, the rest is by N’golo Kante.
A draw, then. Did Stevie think this revived Liverpool’s title challenge? “I think come the summer there’ll be four or five added to the squad and next season they’ll be very strong.” That was a no. The wait goes on.