Steve Gerrard, Gerard, he slips on his… well, you know the rest of the lyrics.
It’s one of the most infamous and brutal terrace chants of all time and it will be haunting Liverpool fans again tomorrow as they face Chelsea at Anfield with their title dream once again in the balance.
The chant emerged, of course, in 2014 after Chelsea famously won 2-0 at Anfield at a time when Brendan Rodgers’ side were top of the table with only three games to go and believing their long wait to be champions was almost over.
Chelsea’s shock victory was achieved,for the most part, because Gerrard gave the ball away to Demba Ba on the stroke of half-time and then, crucially and agonisingly, slipped as he prepared to win it back.
Ba, who has long since disappeared into football oblivion, took his chance to put Chelsea ahead and, as a result, lives on in terrace chant folklore nonetheless.
So much has happened to the two clubs since then — both Rodgers and Mourinho were sacked long ago — that the song really shouldn’t mean much any more.
But the fact that it does, that it still pains Gerrard and irks the Kop, means we are almost certain to hear it again on a tense afternoon at Anfield.
For Liverpool fans who cant, or don’t, want to remember the background details: Their team was on a 16-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League, had won 11 games in a row (including a crucial 3-2 victory over title rivals Man City) and were five points clear at the top of the table.
That scenario is unerringly close to this season’s situation, especially when you consider that it was City who went on to win the title in 2014, taking advantage of Liverpool’s ‘slip’ by beating Crystal Palace away the following day and, spookily, Pep Guardiola’s men face a vital away trip this Sunday — to Selhurst Park.
For Gerrard, the chance to make up for his unfortunate error has long gone.
Now manager at Glasgow Rangers, he recently admitted the pain may never go away, even if Liverpool can end their title drought.
“This wound has been open since my experience. I’m not sure it’ll close because I can’t change that experience,” Gerrard said.
“I just hope for Liverpool’s sake, and mine as a supporter, that come the end of the competition they are victorious. But it won’t make me or my wound feel any different.”
Even a cold Everton or United heart would surely melt just a little at how much the memory hurts a man who spent 17 years at Anfield and was the epitome of a one-club hero.
Even more so when you recall how he described that night, in his autobiography My Story.
“I sat in the back of the car and felt the tears rolling down my face,” he wrote. “I hadn’t cried for years but, on the way home, I couldn’t stop.
"The tears kept coming. It was killing me. I felt numb, like I had lost someone in my family. It was as if my whole quarter of a century at this football club poured out of me.”
Liverpool’s memory of the match is further darkened by the fact it was tactically ugly (or tactically astute, depending on the colour of your shirt), Chelsea using every Mourinho trick in the book to frustrate their hosts, whether that was defending with 10 men, wasting time or breaking up play with premeditated fouls.
You suspect Maurizio Sarri’s side may not be so ruthless this weekend, but there’s no doubt that Chelsea players believe memories of 2014 can sow seeds of doubt in the Liverpool ranks — and of course they have Eden Hazard, a major upgrade on Demba Ba, to provide magic on the break.
Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was winning the FA Youth Cup at Chelsea and only 18 years old when
Gerrard hit the Anfield turf, is still old enough to know its relevance.
“I don’t know if it will make a difference, but it’s a good memory for the fans,” he said.
We stopped them in 2014. If we can get the win and do that again, that would be great. Football can change really quickly.
In Liverpool’s favour, however, is a new mental grit developed by Jurgen Klopp, which gives them hope they will not repeat the same mistakes (and don’t forget they also threw away a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace in the penultimate game of that season to seal their own fate — long after Chelsea had unparked their bus from the Anfield pitch and headed home to London).
Whatever happens, it’s hard to imagine Chelsea fans will spare Stevie G, whose Rangers team have no match this
weekend, from hearing one more rendition of a chant that even Mourinho begged them to stop singing four years ago.
Under those circumstances, victory for Liverpool would be a cathartic and hugely meaningful moment for everyone at Anfield, including their former captain.