Steven Gerrard rues title slip
Steven Gerrard said he has endured the worst three months of his life since his slip against Chelsea cost Liverpool in the title race.
The Reds had been five points clear at the top of the table when they hosted second-placed Chelsea on April 27, but lost 2-0, with Gerrard's slip at the end of the first half allowing the visitors to gain control of the match.
A 3-3 draw in Liverpool's next game -- when Brendan Rodgers' men conceded three goals in the final 11 minutes against Crystal Palace -- enabled Manchester City to ultimately finish two points clear.
The Reds had been threatening to end a title drought dating back to 1990, and Gerrard confirmed in the Daily Telegraph that the Chelsea defeat marked the worst day of his life, adding: "It's probably been the worst three months of my life."
He continued: "When something like that happens you have to face it up and be man enough to take it on the chin. Accept it happened. You can't change it. I haven't lost my man at a set-piece. I haven't missed a penalty. I haven't made a bad pass or a mistake. That's why it was cruel. Every single person on the planet slips at some point in their life, whether it is on a set of stairs, on the floor or whatever.
"For me, it happened on the pitch at a really bad moment, but over the course of 38 games a lot happens for you and against you and that determines whether you win the league or not. That moment happened at a crucial time and I have to face that. And I will do."
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Following the title disappointment, he captained England in Brazil as Roy Hodgson's men exited at the group stage after the nation's worst ever performance at a World Cup.
"Unfortunately I have had that tough time at club level at the end of the season and then I have gone into a World Cup hoping that it was going to go really well to help me get over it, but it backfired," he said. "I have had two massive, unbelievable lows in a short space of time, so it is a good test for me this season. Can I hit form after that? I believe that I can.
"Of course it is tough to take but you have to move on sharpish. We have to try to win the league, progress in the Champions League. There are massive games to look forward to.
"When you're the captain, you can't afford to be down, feel sorry for yourself and mope around. Everyone in this group looks to me to see what mood I'm in, so I have to shake it off quick. Every time I speak to the media it's going to be mentioned. I appreciate how big it is when you go out the World Cup and when you fall short after going close to the title. The level I play means it can be a cruel game.
"It's not always going to be celebrations, smiles and highs. There are always going to be heartbreaks and disappointments and the last three months have been a massive disappointment. At 34, there is no way I am going to let the last three months be the things I remember. It's important to finish on a high."
Gerrard has since retired from international duty but said Liverpool boss Rodgers had not influenced his decision.
"I used to love going down there and knowing I was going to be captain," he said. "To be fair to Brendan, when I had the chat with him, he said that if you want to carry on for England, I can tailor your Liverpool games. When he said that, it made me go 100 percent with my decision because I don't want my Liverpool games to be tailored. I still want to be available, I want to be fresh and play at a high level for Liverpool for certainly one more season.
"We will have to wait and see if there are any more after that. Of course I'm going to feel fresher and benefit from not playing. I'm also going to be more liked in my house with being at home more. That was one of my reasons -- to be around the girls a bit more.
"You sort of feel like you are lying to them all the time. It's difficult to say to them you are going away for four to six weeks. Then they are on the phone and on FaceTime saying they want you home. It does become difficult being away. I've done it for 14 years. I had to be fair to my family but also to Liverpool as well."