• Premier League

Gerrard: Worst three months of my life

ESPN staff
July 30, 2014
Steven Gerrard suffered lows for both club and country this summer © PA Photos

Steven Gerrard says he has endured the worst three months of his life since his slip against Chelsea cost Liverpool in the title race.

Liverpool were five points clear at the top of the table when they lost 2-0 their second-placed rivals at Anfield in April, with Gerrard's mistake at the end of the first half handing over control of the match.

A 3-3 draw in their next game, when Liverpool conceded three times in the final 11 minutes against Crystal Palace, enabled Manchester City to seize control in the the title race and go on to become champions by a two point margin.

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Liverpool had been threatening to end a title drought dating back to 1990 and Gerrard revealed that the Chelsea defeat marked his darkest day. He said: "It's probably been the worst three months of my life.

"I've been through the pain in the dressing room after and in the weeks and months since. I didn't hide away. I have TVs in my house and I read papers. There is social media.

"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."

Following the title disappointment, Gerrard captained England as they made a disappointing group stage exit in Brazil; 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.

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"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 retired from international duty after the World Cup but said Liverpool manager Rodgers did not influence 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% 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.

Gerrard, the father of three daughters, added: "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."

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