For as much as they might have tried to do so on Sunday afternoon at Anfield, Liverpool rarely bothered a well-organized and resolute Chelsea side. Chances came and went for the hosts, but they never looked much like scoring, and for a side that's put goals into opposition nets at a record-setting clip, that's a little bit of a problem. While the personnel and tactics were mostly the same save for a few fitness levels and the appearance of Iago Aspas, it just never quite came off for Liverpool, with Chelsea's setup claiming a large part of the responsibility for the result.
Unfortunately Steven Gerrard also had a large part to play in the Chelsea's result, giving away possession just in side Liverpool's half and, after slipping during his attempted recovery, leaving Demba Ba to break in possession one-on-one with Simon Mignolet. The Senegalese striker finished well through Mignolet's legs with what proved to be the match winner, leaving Gerrard culpable yet again for a Chelsea goal.
But in true manager's fashion--amid all the whining and moaning and mostly accurate depictions of how the match went from a Liverpool perspective, but nevermind that, isn't Jose Mourinho just the awesomest and neatest and no his smugness isn't suffocating at all why do you ask--Brendan Rodgers deflected any blame from Gerrard, noting the role his captain has played in pushing the side along this season:
"Steven is a boy who has picked up this club so many times. And it was just really unfortunate because he slipped at a crucial moment and it was right on half-time. He was doing everything he possibly could today and we hoped there would be one or two who would step up to the plate instead of him, but we couldn't quite do that today. There's certainly no blame because we are in the position we are in now because of him; he's been instrumental for us this season.
"It's just unfortunate that he's slipped over. It could have happened to anyone. This is a guy that is so strong mentally. He probably got frustrated but I thought he showed his courage today because after that he still kept getting on the football, he still tried to pass; at times, he broke through and broke the line to get in. But he and our other attacking threats just couldn't quite make the breakthrough. Give credit to Chelsea for that; they sat in really deep."
Admirable if expected from the boss, and there's no doubt that Gerrard's body of work over the past few months has easily outweighed his error today. The slip is made more tragic both by Gerrard's history with Chelsea and the "this does not slip LOL YAH IT DOES" jokes it birthed, and as supporters it's not likely that we're going to get away from it any time soon.
Hopefully Steven Gerrard and Liverpool do, however, as the season's final two matches can still hold plenty of promise.