These two words, perhaps more than any others, have defined the last six years of Liverpool fandom in the banter era. It spawned countless memes, and that same damned GIF used over and over on social media, regardless of whether the circumstance called for it.
Fans of Chelsea and other clubs regularly incorporate The Slip into a reworked version of “Steve Gerrard, Gerrard,” even when they’re not playing Liverpool. This is a club that has won the European Cup, and 5 Premier League titles in a decade and a half. And yet their biggest, most noteworthy accomplishment, seems to be preventing Liverpool from winning the title once.
Even yesterday, with the Premier League wrapped up, Chelsea’s official Twitter account put up Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip. Sure, they took it down again, realizing after the fact how small it made the club seem. But still, the temptation was too much to resist for the London side.
It was laughable, really. A poorly conceived attempt to get under Liverpool fans’ skin just one more time, from their official account, no less.
I don’t think a single Liverpool fan was all that bothered. Yes, the pain of that moment and what it meant for the club still lingers. We desperately wanted to see Gerrard win his long-sought and much-deserved league title. We desperately wanted to win the league, period. We hated that it had to be Stevie G that suffered such an indignity.
It was a terrible moment in an otherwise brilliant season. But many Liverpool fans, myself included, can still look back at 2013/14 as an incredible season. In fact, it’s still possibly my favorite season as a Liverpool supporter, bumps, bruises, slips and all.
Now that Liverpool have finally won the title—finally got that 30-year monkey off our backs—the pain of that moment has been greatly diminished. Sorry, you can’t hurt us anymore with your bullshit songs, bullshit memes, and bullshit “Slippy G” references.
Moreover, it’s possible that the moment ended up helping in the long run. Even if we won the title, it’s likely that Luis Suarez leaves in the summer and isn’t properly replaced. Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge still struggle with injuries over the following season.
It’s possible that this title gives Brendan Rodgers more time at the club. And it’s possible that Liverpool, without a lengthy title-drought, becomes less appealing to Jurgen Klopp. He’s a football romantic, after all. What’s romantic about bringing a team back to where it was just two years prior?
Instead, we know what happened. It was easier to let Rodgers go. Klopp came in mid-season and took us to two cup finals, and many memorable wins along the way, including a pair of 3-goal wins over Manchester City.
Klopp’s first Liverpool side was far from the finished product, but it showed enough that he was able to recruit the likes of Sadio Mané, Joel Matip, and Georginio Wijnaldum that summer, three players who remain in or around his best XI to this day.
Instead of having a one-off title without a real foundation to support it, we now have one of the best squads in Europe. Unlike 2013/14, Klopp managed to follow up his almost-ran campaign with a truly dominant one. Instead of fluking our way to a title, we’ve become a mainstay at the top of the English game and beyond. Instead of qualifying for the Champions League twice in a decade, we’ve now qualified for our fourth consecutive entry into the Champions League draw (whenever that might be).
During Klopp’s tenure, he has consistently used disappointments as motivation to improve. Miss out on Champions League in his first season? Qualify the next. Lose the Champions League final? Win the next one. Lose the Premier League? Walk it next time through.
Although The Slip preceded Klopp’s tenure, I think we can add it to the above list. It’s in the past. We won the fucking league.