By the time you read this, you've probably rewatched the clip of Steven Gerrard's post-whistle talk to his teammates at least several dozen times, right-click-saved the gif version to the photos folder on your computer, and happily shared all over your various social media circles quickly photoshopped graphics containing the quotes.
This will not stop us from hashing it out. Again.
Immediately after the match, Gerrard was asked by a reporter what he'd said to his teammates after the final whistle blew and the captain's blunt reply was "None of your business." Unfortunately for the captain and fortunately for Liverpool fans, one camera crew got close enough to capture the captain's impassioned and slightly stream-of-consciousness words.
"This does not fucking slip now! This does not fucking slip! Listen, listen! This is gone. We go to Norwich. Exactly the same. We go again!"
It's mere seconds after the match is over and he's already telling them to focus on the next match, the away game to Norwich City. Norwich matches have been a relatively easy walk in the park for Liverpool — especially for Luis Suarez — and it's in matches with theoretically assured results that complacency can easily set in and where dreams go to die. Treat Norwich like you've treated City, implored the captain. Keep the dream alive.
Keep his dream alive, more like. I have never wanted anything in the world more than Steven Gerrard wants to win the Premier League title and this is the closest he's ever come to doing just that. As Liverpool collect win after win, Gerrard's celebrations become increasingly delirious. Sunday's tears of joy were the culmination of several weeks' worth of emotion building inside the captain, and leaving it all out on the pitch still wasn't enough to contain those feelings.
The subtle switch in Gerrard's reactions, though, betray a man who has gone from seeing Liverpool as contenders and wanting to take the top prize to knowing Liverpool can take the top prize. It's the switch from a title run based on probability, statistical models, and pure luck to a title run where Liverpool are the architects of their own fate.
Every one of the last ten matches of the season may be positioned as a cup final, but the match against City was the one that would finally see Liverpool take complete control of the rest of their season. Although City and Chelsea are both still in the title race, it was City's two games in hand that gave them an edge and that made Sunday's win all the more necessary to Liverpool's title hopes.
Gerrard rebuffed the suggestion that it's Liverpool's title to lose — there is no sense of entitlement here, just a desire to legitimately earn the spot at the top — and not letting up against Norwich is an important part of maintaining that upward trajectory to ensure that the team's season ends on a high note."[Sunday's win is] probably the biggest statement we've made so far this season," Gerrard said after being named Carlsberg's Man of the Match."But the message is to stay calm and keep going — there are still four cup finals left.
"The journey I've had all the way through the years, there have been ups and downs. At the moment, I'm loving every minute of it. I feel 21 again, playing with all these top players. It's probably going to be the biggest month of my career coming up now. I'll give it everything I've got."
Steven Gerrard led his team to victory in Istanbul, coming back from being down 3-0 at the half to win Liverpool's fifth European cup title. If this is the biggest month of his career coming up, we are surely in for a treat.
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