Manchester United take on Liverpool at Old Trafford today, after doing the double over them last season. United won 3-0 at home and 2-1 away, after a Steven Gerrard red card 38 seconds after coming on.
The former Liverpool captain’s autobiography is being serialised this weekend. Here’s a lovely extract where he reflects upon how he cost his team their first title in a quarter of a century.
I sat in the back of the car and felt the tears rolling down my face. I hadn’t cried for years but, on the way home, I couldn’t stop. The tears kept coming. I can’t even tell you if the streets were thick with traffic or as empty as I was on the inside. It was killing me.
I felt numb, like I had lost someone in my family. It was as if my whole quarter of a century at this football club poured out of me. I did not even try to stem the silent tears as the events of the afternoon played over and over again in my head.
April 27 2014: one more victory and we would be almost certain to win the league for the first time since May 1990.
But in the last minute of the first half against a cagey Chelsea, set up to stop our rush to glory by Jose Mourinho, it happened.
A simple pass rolled towards me near the halfway line. It was a nothing moment, a lull in our surge to the title. I moved to meet the ball. It slid under my foot. The twist came then. I slipped. I fell to the ground.
The ball was swept away and the devastating Chelsea attack began. I clambered to my feet and ran with all my heart. I chased Demba Ba as though my life depended on it. I knew the outcome if I couldn’t catch him. But it was hopeless. I couldn’t stop him. Ba scored. It was over.
We lost 2-0 and Manchester City went on to win the title. I had wanted to win it with Liverpool for so long that, now it had gone again, I could not hold my emotion in check.
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