On this day in 2014 - Steven Gerrard and Liverpool let the Premier League title 'slip'

In 2014, Steven Gerrard and Liverpool were on course to win the Premier League title. But a 2-0 loss to Chelsea changed that.

Steven Gerrard's infamous slip cost Liverpool the match - and the title. (Image: Twitter)

When Liverpool won the Premier League in the 2019-20 season, it was a title win 30 years in the making. The Reds last won the title in 1990, before the Premier League was formed. However, they could have ended their agonising wait six years earlier – and under legendary Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, no less. Alas, what looked like a sure-shot thing imploded in spectacular fashion. And the game that started the demise was a home match against Chelsea, exactly seven years to this day.

Chelsea were expected to be road-kill in Liverpool’s quest for Premier League glory. Instead, the Jose Mourinho-led side inflicted a 2-0 defeat which Liverpool never really recovered from.

The background

Liverpool, then managed by Brendan Rodgers, were on an 11-game winning streak coming into this match and top of the league. Manchester City were three points behind and had a game in hand.

Chelsea, meanwhile, were five points adrift and knew a loss would knock them out of contention, given only three games remained at that point.

Therefore, Mourinho set up his team – which largely comprised of second-string players – in ultra-defensive fashion. After all, there was also a Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid looming.

The match

Liverpool dominated the ball for the most part, in part because Chelsea were happy to concede possession. The menacing front line of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling tested Chelsea’s defensive resolve.

Yet while there were a couple of clear-cut chances, neither side created an awful lot. Chelsea were content to sit deep and look for a chance on the break.

And that opportunity came before half-time – although in circumstances no one imagined.

The slip

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho played a simple sideways pass to Steven Gerrard. Gerrard took a step back and controlled the ball. However, he slipped when taking a step forward and the ball was some distance from him.

Chelsea striker Demba Ba pounced on the ball and ran through clean on goal. Reds ‘keeper Simon Mignolet charged off his line but Ba slotted home a cool finish. 1-0 Chelsea.

The cameras cut away from Chelsea’s celebration to Gerrard, who looked distraught. He quickly got the ball out from the goal and trudged back to the centre line. He knew how costly that could prove, and it did.

The second half saw Liverpool throw the kitchen sink at Chelsea. However, they sat tight and the game was over when substitute Fernando Torres – a former Red – teed up fellow sub Willian to tap home into an empty net.

Mourinho, known for his raucous celebrations, ran down the touchline, thumping the Chelsea badge on his jacket. Game, set and match.

The aftermath

To say that Liverpool’s title march ended here would be incorrect. The real killer blow came a week later, again against a London club.

Liverpool visited Crystal Palace and were leading 3-0 at Selhurst Park. Incredibly, Palace scored thrice in the dying stages of the game to end the match 3-3.

Liverpool’s momentum had come to a grinding halt. Despite leading the league on goal difference with two games to go, the run felt finished. Indeed, City were declared champions on the final day of the season.

Liverpool’s hunt for a Premier League title went on, and they had to wait 6 more years before it ended.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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