The Slip of Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard was a mainstay of Liverpool Football Club from 1998 to 2015. He was made the captain of Liverpool in 2003 and he won the Champions League with the club in 2005. While he won the biggest club soccer competition in the world, he was unable to deliver his club its first Premier League title. The moment I will describe is important in the grand scheme of Premier League History because this goal led to a monumental Liverpool defeat, and that put the title in the hands of Manchester City. This defeat, as well as a subsequent loss to Crystal Palace meant that Manchester City just needed to get 4 points out of their last two games. City went on to win the title, with this goal being replayed over and over as the moment Liverpool let the title slip out of their grasp. The image of their legendary captain slipping untouched, unable to stop the surging attacker, is one that will likely never escape the minds of Liverpool fans. This was Gerrard’s best chance to bring a Premier League title to his club, something that the team has still not won.

Tie game during stoppage time at the end of the First Half. Mamadou Sakho possesses the ball near the center line. He passes the ball across the back line of the defense to Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool great takes one touch and opens his hips. The ball slides further than he intended and his balance betrays him. He falls to the ground towards the ball as he sees a blue blur race by him. Demba Ba picks up the ball while cutting through the middle of the defense. He takes three dribbles to make it from the center line to the edge of the goal box.  He left Mamadou Sakho, Steven Gerrard, and Martin Skrtel in the dust as he surged towards the goal. With his fourth touch, Ba slots the ball right under the outstretched leg of a sliding Simon Mignolet. Mignolet backs up to the penalty spot as Ba approaches, and as Ba gets closer, Mignolet takes four steps and goes to the ground to make a save. The ball goes right under his leg and into the middle of the goal. Demba Ba runs to his left, drops to his knees and prays in celebration of the goal. Steven Gerrard runs to the net and picks up the ball. Gerrard’s expression makes it clear that he knows the gravity of his mistake. He hurries the ball up the field, but is soon ushered off the field for halftime. He rushes to the locker room alongside Glenn Johnson, following Raheem Sterling and the rest of his teammates.

It is easy to wonder what Gerrard was thinking as he walked off the field. Did he have confidence that his team could come back? Did he think that his team would still be champions of England? Or did he know that he had just cost his team their first Premier League title? Did he know that he delivered the title to Manchester City? No matter what he was thinking as he followed his teammates off, this moment was key in determining the 2013-14 Premier League title race.