Brendan Rodgers benched the Liverpool legend as the manager wanted the captain fresh for the weekend tie against Chelsea. The Anfield side lost both the games, but Gerrard nonetheless believes that his relegation to the bench at the Bernabeu was ‘devastating’ and crucial in him deciding it was time up.
Speaking to Rio Ferdinand as part of a ‘Rio Meets Steven Gerrard’ interview, the Anfield icon said “This was round about the time when I was doing a lot of thinking about what’s next for me because I’d had a couple of initial chats with Brendan saying to me ‘I’m going to start managing your games and I have to look after you and I want you to be fresh and I don’t want you to be playing three games in a week because you may be tired’ and stuff like that.
“But this situation was a bit unique because it was Real Madrid and I wanted to play, and when I was told I wasn’t playing, for the sake of the team and the squad and my relationship with Brendan, I took it and I accepted it.
“But I sat on that bench devastated because I wanted to play so, it is one of those situations.
“It sort of pushed me making a decision to move on and try something different.”
The 35-year-old further spoke of his side’s agonizingly close title surge of 2014, which he thinks ‘was ours’
“I was in good form myself and we got to the City game and it was a little bit we were in front controlling it, then we were on the back foot and we managed to get over the line.
“And we put that much into the game the initial huddle after the game was just sheer emotion.
“And also being in a position where we felt like it was ours and we were playing that well, I sort of just felt like it was the right time to have a huddle and just remind the players the team that we’ve got a lot of hard work to do. So the atmosphere was obviously great at that time.”
The former England captain then spoke of his infamous slip against Chelsea, which eventually dissolved the title race.
CRUEL: Gerrard has described his slip against Chelsea as cruel
“Well I think that game against Chelsea with the slip and I think our tactical approach was probably inexperienced for the whole game.
“The slip happened at a bad time, it was cruel for me personally.
“There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about ‘what if that didn’t happen?’ Would things have been different? Would it have turned out different?
“Maybe it might of, I don’t know. But even still it happened after half an hour and we still had the time to get the draw we needed and the inexperience showed from myself having not been in many title races and the inexperience of the team.
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Image: Bleacher, Echo