Remembering the infamous title deciding slip by Steven Gerrard
In 2013/14, the belle of a really old ball, Liverpool FC had the chance to regain long lost glory by finally winning the league title after a gap of 24 years. History will recognise this season as one of change, the heartbreaking end of the most successful era in English football history but will remember it for one slip.
In Manchester, Sir Alex Ferguson was finally gone and his personally recommended successor David Moyes ensured that United would be playing no part in the title race that season. Meanwhile, across the road, Manuel Pellegrini slipped into the Etihad to take over from Roberto Mancini, to eventually usher in a shift in power from the old legacy of United to the mega rich Sheiks of City. City played like a team who were looking to be champions once again like they did so famously did 2 years prior. Liverpool was the other horse in this race, the signs were evident when they slapped Spurs 5-0 win in December, and solidified in February when they ended Arsenal’s title hopes with what is described by some as the most dominant premier league performance ever. It was wave after wave of attack as they rampaged their way to a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes and left the Gunners with barely any ammunition.
Liverpool’s attacking swagger ensured they had a five point lead with 3 games remaining. “This does not slip,” Gerrard famously urged his team-mates in one post-match huddle.
However, in full control against Chelsea in a home game that didn’t even need to win, Steven Gerrard slipped at the halfway line, Demba Ba stole the loose ball and slotted it past Simon Mignolet at the Kop end, ensuring the Anfield legend will be forever tormented with cruel songs and signs. They lost that game 2-0, and now needed to drop points once more to lose grip of the summit. In the next game they squandered a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace conceding 3 goals within 10 minutes thus handing the keys of the trophy cabinet to the incoming Citizens.
The rest unfolded as it was supposed to and and Liverpool finished a painful 2 points behind City. As of today the gap has extended to 28 years, with the reds in a much better position as a club now as compared to what the past would suggest. They have recovered from the loss of Sterling, Suarez and Gerrard, among other key long standing stalwarts like the unapologetic Centre Back Martin Skrtel and have a very competitive squad as things stand. Signings like Salah, Firmino and Mane have really changed the face of the club.
The league title is still a tough proposition with Manchester City at the helm of english football as it stands.
By Abhishek Aggarwal