Sat in a crowded bar, I was wholly swept away by a Brendan Rodgers led Liverpool’s breathless win against Manchester City. Anfield was bouncing, and Mr Liverpool Steven Gerrard bellowed to his teammates, “we do not let this f*****g slip.” As a bit of a football romantic, it was easy for me to put aside club loyalties and appreciate the raw power of the occasion. But history has a wicked sense of irony. A week later, Mourinho’s Chelsea– themselves vaguely in contention for the title- rocked up to Merseyside, hoping to douse some Koppite fire. Little did we know that it would be Gerrard, long since the club’s man-of-the-moment, who would well err, make the fatal slip. 

Seemingly in control, Gerrard allowed the ball to roll across him before violently slipping to the floor. Chelsea’s Demba Ba was on hand to run onto the loose ball before slotting home past the helpless Mignolet. One could argue that Liverpool never recovered from that, But I’d like to believe it was the next fixture that dented all hopes of a Liverpool title after ages. Three goals to the good and flying, Liverpool sensed a massacre on the cards. Instead, it went pear-shaped! Istanbul in reverse, Crystanbul, call it what you may, but as the referee blew the final whistle, the Reds were a wreck. Luis Suarez wept uncontrollably, shielded from the cameras by Gerrard. 

Manchester City would accept the twin gifts with open arms, ultimately going on to nick a tight title race. Gerrard’s departed for the MLS soon after, seeing out his Liverpool career in ignominious fashion with a 6-1 hammering at Stoke. The Premier League remained elusive for the great no. 8, a great career forever blighted by the mother of all slips. 

Cut to 2022, and the football Gods have opened the door to a redemption story unlike any other. Man City has succumbed to a chaotic draw against West Ham, opening the door ever so slightly for Klopp’s men. Two goals down at HT, City scorched back in the second half to level the scores. When Jesus was fouled by Craig Dawson in the box, The Sky Blues were a penalty kick away from sealing the Premier League. With the Hammers faithful doing their best to unnerve him, Mahrez saw his shot saved by Fabianski. A chance at the title spurned at the first offering; I’d expect a few dices to roll still. While the title remains within their grasp, they’ll have to outdo Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa come next Sunday (provided Liverpool keeps their end of the bargain). It’s not merely Gerrard who finds himself in this scheme, but Liverpool’s old boy and a key member of Rodgers’ title-challenging Liverpool, Phillipe Coutinho. If ever Stevie G had to let rip a tactical masterclass, it would be now. 

“Oh! Football, bloody hell!”