Steven Gerrard says he still has “open wounds” about Liverpool throwing away the Premier League title in the final games of the 2013/14 season.
Speaking of the club’s prospective title credentials as the team sit just one point behind Manchester City with nine games remaining, Gerrard spoke of his heartbreaking final title-tilt and how it still haunts him.
“This wound has been open since my experience,” Gerrard said.
“I am not sure it will close because I can’t change that experience and my experience.”
The Reds held a commanding five point lead over Manchester City with just three matches to play, following 11-consecutive wins that included a 5-1 drubbing of then league-leaders Arsenal, a 3-0 win away to Manchester United and a 3-2 win against Manchester City in the game that was billed to be the ‘title-decider’.
Liverpool hosted Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at Anfield on April 27 looking for a 12th-consecutive win but more importantly, a win that would all but assure them their first Premier League title.
In the dying stages of injury-time in the first-half, Gerrard inexplicably slipped over while receiving the ball in the last line of defence, allowing Demba Ba to run in on goal untouched and give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
Then in the final minute of injury-time in the second half Liverpool were caught out throwing all outfield players into the Chelsea box looking for a late equaliser, allowing former star Fernando Torres to run half the field unmarked before passing to Willian for a tap in. Mourinho’s exuberant sideline celebration the salt in the wounds of a monumental loss.
Still the Reds were in pole position to claim the title, but their lead had slipped to just two points. Their penultimate game of the season saw them travel to south London to play Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, and a 3-0 lead with just 12 minutes remaining had restored faith that the famous club were just one game from claiming the one trophy that had alluded them.
And so ensued the most devastating moments in Liverpool’s storied history. Damien Delaney hammered in a swerving strike from 25 yards to make it 3-1 in the 79th minute, before Dwight Gayle made it 3-2 just two minutes later. Then with just under three minutes of normal time to play, Gayle latched on to a Delaney flicked-header and finished past Simon Mignolet to earn the most unlikely of 3-3 draws, leaving several Liverpool players so distraught they could barely pick themselves up from the pitch.
The result allowed City, who had a game in hand, to leapfrog the Reds by two points and a 2-0 win at home to West Ham on the final day ensured the league would be their’s, something Gerrard has still not forgotten.
Gerrard, now managing Rangers in the Scottish Premier League, said he still is involved with the club and regularly speaks with current players and staff.
“I look at a squad of players, some of whom I am still friends with. I see a support that gave me absolutely everything from the terraces and around the world,” Gerrard said.
“I just hope for their sake, and mine as a supporter, that come the end of the competition they are victorious. But it won’t make me or my wound feel any different. I don’t just look back to that one game [Chelsea] or one campaign. I don’t overthink and drive myself crazy over it.
“At the same time, I have been honest and open, it was such a big year. It was the trophy that eluded me, so of course I am always going to look back and wish it was different.
“If I had a choice of winning the Champions League or Premier League, I’d say the Champions League probably. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t crave a Premier League. It is such a big prize.”