Steven Gerrard has revealed he couldn’t stop crying after his infamous slip against Chelsea in 2014 ended Liverpool’s title hopes – and even ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ could not cheer him up.
The Reds were five points clear heading into their final three games of the Premier League season in 2013/14, with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, who themselves were out of the title race by then, their next opponent.
On the back of an 11-game winning streak, Brendan Rodgers’ Reds were on the brink of ending a 24-year wait for the title, only for a Gerrard slip to prove costly as Demba Ba went on to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time.
Willian added another in second-half stoppage-time to end Liverpool’s remarkable run, and from there Manchester City capitalised to claim their second Premier League crown.
In his new autobiography, serialised by the Daily Mail, Gerrard has revealed he could not stop crying after his mistake, and even a rousing rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ from the Kop could not wipe his tears away.
‘I sat in the back of the car and felt the tears rolling down my face. I hadn’t cried for years but, on the way home, I couldn’t stop. The tears kept coming. I can’t even tell you if the streets were thick with traffic or as empty as I was on the inside. It was killing me.
I felt numb, like I had lost someone in my family. It was as if my whole quarter of a century at this football club poured out of me. I did not even try to stem the silent tears as the events of the afternoon played over and over again in my head.
April 27 2014: one more victory and we would be almost certain to win the league for the first time since May 1990.
But in the last minute of the first half against a cagey Chelsea, set up to stop our rush to glory by Jose Mourinho, it happened.
A simple pass rolled towards me near the halfway line. It was a nothing moment, a lull in our surge to the title. I moved to meet the ball. It slid under my foot. The twist came then. I slipped. I fell to the ground.
The ball was swept away and the devastating Chelsea attack began. I clambered to my feet and ran with all my heart. I chased Demba Ba as though my life depended on it. I knew the outcome if I couldn’t catch him. But it was hopeless. I couldn’t stop him. Ba scored. It was over.
We lost 2-0 and Manchester City went on to win the title. I had wanted to win it with Liverpool for so long that, now it had gone again, I could not hold my emotion in check.
I beat myself up. My head was all over the place. I had lived through many great moments in my career and achieved success beyond my most fevered boyhood dreams.
I had played and scored in games and tournaments which belonged to another world from the Bluebell Estate in Huyton where I had grown up. I had done things that would have shocked me as a kid.
I had also given absolutely everything of myself to Liverpool: in training, in almost 700 games, off the pitch, around the squad and as part of the club, the community and the city.
I could not have done any more. I had squeezed out every last ounce of ambition and desire and hope inside me.
Instead of hitting a long crossfield pass to set up a goal, making a decisive tackle or curling the ball into the back of the Chelsea goal to seal our victory, I had fallen over.
The Kop, and the whole of Anfield, had sung You’ll Never Walk Alone again, of course, but, in the car, I felt isolated. I felt very alone.
The Liverpool anthem reminds you to hold your head up high when you walk through a storm. It reminds you not to be afraid of the dark. It reminds you to walk on through the wind and the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown, and to walk on with hope in your heart.’
*Forgive us, we teared up a little ourselves just then*
‘I did not feel like I had much hope left. It seemed like I was heading for suicide watch instead.’