Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has admitted that his infamous error against Chelsea influenced his decision to leave the club.
Gerrard won all there was to win at Liverpool other than the Premier League title, and it’s the won domestic title that slipped away from his grasp. And right towards the end of his career, it looked as though Liverpool would finally end the drought during the 2013/14 season.
But a cruel slip at home to Chelsea allowed Demba Ba through in on goal before scoring, and following the collapse at Crystal Palace, Gerrard saw his title dreams evaporate in front of his eyes. The Liverpool legend has previously admitted it’s a moment he lives to regret, but now he’s revealed it contributed to him leaving the club.
The current Aston Villa boss spent 17 glorious years at Liverpool after making his debut back in 1998, and won nine trophies including a famous Champions League victory over AC Milan against all the odds. But his best chance to win the Premier League fell towards the end of his career as he formed a deadly partnership with Luis Suarez.
Liverpool were charging towards the title, but their hopes unravelled within the space of a week and Manchester City snatched it as the game went down to the final day. The Reds failed to recover and Suarez left that summer, but Gerrard wasn’t the same either as he left for LA Galaxy in January 2015.
It was the first time he had ever worn a shirt that wasn’t red, and the midfielder spent almost two years in America before calling time on his career and later pursuing management. But Gerrard has now admitted to Gary Neville that the pain of his mistake and Liverpool’s failed title bid led him to leave the club and “break free” from the routine.
Gerrard told Neville on The Overlap : “It still pains me and as you say it is a bruise. It was a learning experience, it is something that I always will take responsibility for. That’s the moment I look back on and think ‘If only I’d got that right, it would be so much better’.
“It definitely flashes back, I think the reason why I always say that moment (as his lowest point) is because I don’t want people to think I’m ignoring it. Unfortunately it happened to me at a real cruel time from a personal point of view.
“It definitely had an effect on me mentally for some time – I don’t know whether it was months or years – still to this day it doesn’t feel great. Time wise maybe that affect my decision to go to America. I think being in Liverpool, when you’re in that routine, sometimes you’ve got to break free.
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“I still wanted to enjoy my football, I still felt I had a few years left. I felt like the best thing for me, my family and the ending was to just go and reset. It wasn’t off the back of that but probably where I was at, I’d say it had an influence.”
It may not have been as a player, but Gerrard did finally break his title curse when managing Rangers as he led them to a memorable Scottish Premiership as they went unbeaten for a whole season. Not only was it the 55th title in the club’s history, it stopped Celtic from winning ten in a row.
Gerrard is now focusing on life with Villa as he looks to get them challenging for European football in the near future, but there have been reports that he could replace Jurgen Klopp later down the line. Perhaps then he can finally lead Liverpool to a title and bring the league success that he deserved at Anfield.