Steven Gerrard has described in his latest book the team-talk that Brendan Rodgers gave at half-time, after the Liverpool captain lost his footing in their crucial game against Chelsea.
The Anfield club only needed a draw to remain favourites in the 13/14 title-race, but an ill-fated slip by Gerrard allowed Demba Ba to score the opening goal for Chelsea.
A dejected Steven Gerrard looks on during the game against Chelsea (PA)
Gerrard has revealed that Rodgers tried to inspire his charges at half-time, demanding that his players "repay" their inspirational captain.
I had been straining the whole half to make something happen, so had Luis. Chelsea just kept blunting us. And then I’d slipped. The dressing room was hushed.
“Look,” Brendan said, imploring the other players, “if anyone deserves to be bailed out it’s him.”
His finger pointed at me. “Your captain needs you to all pay him back. The amount of times he’s pulled this club out of a mess and changed impossible situations and got players out of trouble are the stuff of legend. Now it’s time you repay him. You’ve got forty-five minutes to do it.”
Brendan looked at me. “Stevie, forget it,” he said. “It happens. Let’s all go out and win this game. We can do it.”
Gerrard was a strong advocate of Brendan Rodgers man-management skills (Express)
Liverpool eventually lost the game 2-0 against a defensive Chelsea formation that blunted the attacking intent of the Anfield club.
This defeat was decisive. It handed the initiative back to Manchester City who claimed their second Premier League title in three years, which left Liverpool fans to contemplate another year of what-could-have-been.
Despite Brendan Rodgers inauspicious exit from Liverpool, the former Reds manager has never sought to use his captain's costly error as an excuse for not winning the title. Even in the midst of the game he actively supported Gerrard.
For this, Rodgers should be highly commended for his moral judgement and even applauded by Liverpool fans.