Thursday 11 April 2019 6:21 pm

Liverpool will face the ghosts of their 2014 Premier League title bid slip up against Chelsea


Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email: michael.searles@cityam.com

Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email: michael.searles@cityam.com

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It was this very fixture in April five years ago that saw one of the cruellest twists in English football history.

Steven Gerrard’s rallying cry to team-mates just a few days earlier that “this does not slip” played out with the captain losing his footing and allowing Chelsea a decisive goal that would cost Liverpool not only the game but the Premier League title too.

With Chelsea preparing to travel to Anfield this Sunday, a repeat of that result would all but spell the end of Liverpool’s hopes of ending their long wait to be champions again.

Read more: United need a third European comeback after lacklustre Barca grind it out

Since then Liverpool have rebuilt. Only Daniel Sturridge and Simon Mignolet remain – as well as the lingering feeling of what could have been.

Perhaps it is the 28 years and counting since their last top-flight title, or the tendency of this team – even guided by the new hand of Jurgen Klopp – to capitulate in the biggest games.

Three successive defeats in finals of the League Cup, Europa League and Champions League have left questions over Liverpool’s mentality when the pressure is on, and it is the elusive Premier League title that the club want more than anything.

This season they have given themselves a real chance of ending that hoodoo and find themselves in an uncannily familiar situation to that of April 2014.

Once again it is Manchester City who are hot on their heels – albeit this time with a game in hand – and Chelsea who stand between them and taking the title race down to the wire.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League
Mohamed Salah made just his fourth Premier League start on that day (Source: Getty)

Defeat would hand Pep Guardiola’s men the chance to move four points clear and, having won 22 of their last 24 games, the prospect of City dropping that many points seems unlikely.


Only a win will do, yet in the two meetings between them so far this season Liverpool have failed to beat Chelsea, drawing 1-1 at Stamford Bridge in September, three days after a 2-1 cup loss at Anfield.

Sturridge was on the scoresheet in both of those games, including with a sensational last-minute equaliser to salvage a point in the league game.

He also featured off the bench on that fateful day five years ago, when current Chelsea players Cesar Azpilicueta and Willian were also involved.

Although Klopp’s side will be favourites to win based on their current superiority, Chelsea arrived on Merseyside as underdogs when they rattled Rodgers’ Liverpool.

Read more: Helped by home atmosphere Spurs stand up to City and overcome VAR drama

Centre-back Tomas Kalas, now on loan at Bristol City, made his first Chelsea start that day, while Mark Schwarzer, John Obi Mikel, Andre Schurrle and Liverpool’s very own Mohamed Salah were also among the visitors’ XI.

The Egyptian was making only his fourth start for the Blues, having joined in the January, and played his part in crushing Liverpool’s Premier League dreams.

Five years on and he will be tasked with ensuring this Reds vintage do not suffer the same fate.

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