Steven Gerrard, the man who made Liverpool and all of it’s fans believe that the dream, 24 years in the making could finally be achieved, as Liverpool hosted Chelsea for one of the matches of the season, billed by many as the title decider, may have to look back on this day, when he slipped and potentially let the title slip away from Liverpool’s hands.
On 11th of May things may well be different, Liverpool could still be crowned champions, but now that is not in Liverpool’s hands as it was a couple of hours ago. Manchester City are just 3 points behinds Liverpool, with a game in hand. If Liverpool indeed loose the title, Steven Gerrard will be haunted for the rest of his lives by his error.
In the 4th minute of added time in the first half, Mamadou Sakho passed the ball to the Liverpool captain, who slipped only to see Demba Ba racing through on goal, to score a goal that potentially changed everything. It was the type of error which takes a lot to recover from. Later in the match, Gerrard was seen with his shoulders drooping and required encouragement from his team-mates to carry on with the proceedings.
A painful sight for any football fan, usually it is the 34-year-old Englishman who is seen encouraging his team-mates to believe to give their best, to fight and to win. But Gerrard, he was not able to shake it off.
Liverpool, who have dominated opponents with elan, were a shadow of their self in the second half. Chelsea meanwhile defended with purpose and a solid structure. As is expected of a Jose Mourinho team, to defend with resilience on the biggest of occasions, so they did as they soaked in the pressure of Liverpool, who were desperate to find a late equaliser to keep their title ambitions in their own hands, but were undone by Fernando Torres, who has a knack of only scoring or assisting in the so called big games.
Liverpool lost the ball in the middle only for Willian and Torres to run clear, Torres played a sumptuous ball to Willian, who again scored in the fourth minute of extra time, albeit of the second half. The two were clear on goal, with a two on one situation against a helpless Simon Mignolet. Anfield was silenced by the man, who once reaped in the loudest cheers, as Torres passed to Willian to tuck the ball into an open goal.
An over-joyed Mourinho was seen on the sidelines, celebrating the goal while beating his chest. Without a doubt it was one of the ugliest wins, even from Mourinho standards, but its his special ability to strifle the opponents in the biggest of occasions. It is not pretty, definitely not a joy to watch, it can even be described in Mourinho’s words as the 19th century football of which he had accused West Ham earlier in the season, but it works for Mourinho and the Chelsea fans. Mourinho with his tactics has dealt a massive blow in Liverpool’s quest for the title.
Six minutes in, Mourinho was involved in another controversy, as he tussled with John Flanagan and Steven Gerrard, who were trying to wrestle him off the ball, but Mourinho spun it back behind his back, only to toss it out of their reach.
Liverpool were not left with much of a choice, except to go all out in the second half. But Suarez failed to live up to the expectations in yet another big match, while Gerrard who was more than desperate to make up for his horror slip, went on adding to the woes of The Reds.Published 27 Apr 2014, 23:49 IST