World Cup 2014: Steven Gerrard won’t be slip sliding away

It will take England’s skipper a long time to get over the mistake that cost Liverpool the title but it is ‘parked’ for now, he tells Glenn Moore

It is “The Slip”. Not “Gerrard’s Slip”, just “The Slip”. This is even how Steven Gerrard himself describes the moment his back foot gave way on the Anfield turf as he sought to retrieve a pass he had allowed to run under his foot against Chelsea. He slipped, Demba Ba stole the ball and scored. Liverpool lost and a first League title in 24 years slipped from their grasp.

England are about to depart for Brazil where they still call the 1950 World Cup final home loss to Uruguay ‘The Defeat’.  More than six decades on the memory still traumatises a nation, and will prey on their minds this summer. That is what such a sudden reversal of fortune can do to people’s heads.

Gerrard insists he has already ‘parked’ his slip, and ‘moved on’. But when he talks it is clear that he has only done so up to a point. Roy Hodgson will hope as the World Cup nears, the memory of that afternoon at Anfield will further recede.

“I don’t like making mistakes, big mistakes at important times. I’ve made a few, more than a few, through my career. This one hurt a lot – not just The Slip, it was more letting the title slip towards the end because we had come so close and had a terrific season.

“I was disappointed for all the lads, for all the supporters and everyone at the club that we couldn’t hang on and do it. It would have been a monumental achievement to go from seventh to first. But with experience you tend to look back at the positives as well as the negatives. To finish second in the hardest league in the world, and to have the season I’ve had personally, was fantastic, but of course The Slip hurts you.

 

“If I had made that mistake when I was younger, for example when I scored that own goal against Chelsea (in the 2005 League Cup final) when I was 24 – that killed me for a long time.

“You are not experienced enough to know that you can make up for it with time – that the memory will fade away. I would have put myself under an awful lot more pressure then. That’s not to say that I won’t put the same pressure on myself to make up for this one but I have learned to cope better with setbacks through age.”

Gerrard said he had spoken to Steve Peters, the sports psychologist who works with Liverpool and is with England for their World Cup campaign, about the incident, but stressed he also discussed ‘the good things’ with Peters. He added: “It’s not just about the one case that I’ll dwell on for a long time, but I suppose having Steve there is a bit of a help in dealing with it.”

It was, he went on, beneficial that he now had a World Cup to occupy him. “I would otherwise be sitting on a sun lounger, wondering back to the last three or four games of the season, keeping going over and over where it’s gone wrong and asking myself why and where and driving myself potty. I’ve got to park The Slip at the back of my mind and forget about it for the time being because I’ve got a huge tournament coming up. Once you start playing and training different things come up to think about, for example, Italy, Uruguay, Costa Rica. Those are the things on my mind, on my focus, I’ve got to make sure for everyone’s sake that I park the memory. I can’t change anything. I’ve got to try and perform as well as I can for everyone.”

“Is there anybody who has not slipped at any time in their life? The difference is I did it at a bad time and at a bad place, at a bad moment.

“If I had done a bad back pass, scored an own goal, or done my job wrong it would have really beaten me up. I keep saying to myself, how, where and why? There are no answers because it was a slip.

“Was it to do with my boots? Who knows? Who knows? But it was so cruel because of the timing – with three games to go. We were top of the league. Of course it’s cruel, it’s unfair but that’s football, that’s life. I’m not feeling sorry for myself.

“I will learn an awful lot from The Slip, the last three or four games – the whole campaign. It’s taken me until I’m 33 years of age to get that experience of a real genuine title race. Being there until the end, the last game. What’s that going to do for the likes of Raheem Sterling and the young players in the squad to get that experience at a young age?

“I think the future is so bright for Liverpool at the moment. I wish I was 23. I believe that the hurt and the pain – not just for myself but for everyone, the players and the staff, I think [will help ensure] the next two or three years are going to be magnificent for Liverpool. That is my prediction and I hope it comes true.”

“My family don't get involved with the football. Alex [Curran, his wife] is clueless when it comes to football and none of my girls are interested so I had to deal with it myself. But I don't want anyone thinking I'm a young, naïve, insecure person who goes home and cries in his bedroom. I'm 33 years of age with 100-and-odd caps and 600-and-odd appearances. I'm big enough and brave enough to take it on the chin. I take responsibility for The Slip and the damage it's done. It wasn't the first mistake I've made. I've made many and I've got over them and I'll prove to everybody in this World Cup that I'm fit, fresh and ready to perform.”

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style
tech

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Life and Style
health

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album