Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard, who retired from football on Thursday, has described how his slip against Chelsea in the Premier League in 2014 felt like a “disaster” in his life.
Liverpool looked to be on the brink of claiming their first Premier League title, but Gerrard’s mistake let in Demba Ba to score the opener in a 2-0 win for Chelsea, who then went on to be crowned champions.
While Gerrard’s Liverpool career featured highs such as sealing Champions League glory against AC Milan in Istanbul, that Chelsea match will always be remembered as a crushing low for the club’s home-grown hero.
“Obviously the Champions League in Istanbul in 2005 [was my best moment],” Gerrard told BT Sport. “Getting that fifth Champions League for Liverpool and the trophy that we keep forever.
“It was a dream just to be involved in the ride and the journey, but to get the cup at the end of it, and the game, probably the best Champions League final ever to watch was a miracle really.
“The nice thing for me was that I contributed big in the game. Being the captain there was a lot of pressure that I had to deliver in that game. Looking back on it I’m really pleased with how it went.
“There were a lot of brutal lows that took a lot out of me as well. The Chelsea game. That’s one that will haunt me for a long time. The complete opposite to the feelings of the Champions League where you’re on this incredible high.
“The Chelsea game, that being a pivotal moment, it felt like a disaster had happened in my life.”
Gerrard, who won 114 caps for England, explained an increasing number of fitness issues were key to his decision to retire from football after two years playing in MLS with LA Galaxy.
“There’s a few reasons really,” the 36-year-old said. “You’re aware of this time coming, towards the end. The body starts talking to you. The pains and the aches get more regular. The way you feel out there on the pitch changes.
“Over the last few years I’ve felt myself slowing down, if you like, and I basically can’t deliver what I used to deliver. That becomes a bit frustrating as time goes on.
“I’ve listened to people over the years and they’ve always said, ‘always go with a tiny bit left, never overstay your welcome and play on too long where it becomes embarrassing’. I can feel that’s not too far away, so now is the right time.
“In my last three or four months with the Galaxy I was getting too many injuries. I didn’t really feel as sharp as I used to. The games were becoming more challenging, especiallyin altitude and heat. The travel was affecting me.
“It was more a period of time rather than one particular moment. In saying that, I’ve had a few moments in the last six months where I thought, ‘I didn’t play well today’ or ‘that guy got the better of me’. I don’t like saying that, so now’s the right time.”