Liverpool v Chelsea: Demba Ba says ‘I don’t feel sorry for Gerrard, they lost to our reserves’ following ex-Anfield captain’s infamous slip

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IT was the dagger through the heart of Liverpool’s title bid — but it was not even the most important goal Demba Ba scored that month.

Five years on and Steven Gerrard’s slip, before Ba’s cool finish, was seen as the moment the Premier League fell from the grasp of Brendan Rodgers’ team.

Liverpool v Chelsea: Demba Ba says ‘I don’t feel sorry for Gerrard, they lost to our reserves’ following ex-Anfield captain’s infamous slip3 Demba Ba punishes a slip by Steven Gerrard to end the Premier League dream of the Liverpool legend in April 2014
Liverpool v Chelsea: Demba Ba says ‘I don’t feel sorry for Gerrard, they lost to our reserves’ following ex-Anfield captain’s infamous slip3 Demba Ba insists this dramatic moment when he sped onto a mistake from Steven Gerrard to score is just a normal memory for him

But does Ba feel sorry for Gerrard? Not a bit of it.

As he eats lunch in Istanbul, following his move to Turkish club Basaksehir in January, Ba recalls that 2014 trip to Anfield on a day when he felt Jose Mourinho picked the Chelsea reserves!

The Special One was still pumped up to beat the title favourites, with fringe players like Mo Salah, then of Chelsea, looking to seize their opportunity. There was widespread sympathy for Gerrard in his quest to end his club’s 24-year title drought — but not from Chelsea.

Senegal star Ba said: “I didn’t feel sorry for him. I’m not a Steven Gerrard supporter. I’m not a Liverpool supporter.
“I’m not a Man City supporter or happy that they won the league.

“It’s all part of the game. It’s the same as Crystal Palace last year when they were safe and had nothing to play for, they went and played at Stoke and sent them down by winning. You go and do your job, you go to win.”

For Ba, 33, his goal against Paris Saint-Germain just over a fortnight before that Anfield clash holds more significance, as it capped a memorable comeback after losing 3-1 in France.

He said: “When you talk about the one I scored against Paris, it’s great because it was the goal that took us to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

'VERY MOTIVATED'

“It is something that is great and more memorable to me.

“But that goal at Anfield hasn’t brought anything to us apart from to beat Liverpool away.

“It didn’t get us to another stage, it didn’t make us win the league or whatever. It’s like any other normal goal I would have scored.”

That goal against PSG played a huge part in the build-up to Chelsea’s trip to Merseyside.

The game was sandwiched by Champions League semi-finals against Atletico Madrid and Mourinho was angry TV broadcasters would not move the Prem clash from Sunday to give his team more time to prepare for the second leg.

Chelsea were out of the title race after a shock home loss to Sunderland but Mourinho took a dim view of the coverage around Liverpool’s title bid, saying: “They want us to be the clowns in the circus. The circus is here. Liverpool are to be champions.”

Mourinho rested or benched first-teamers like John Terry, Gary Cahill and David Luiz. In came Salah, a few years before he became the toast of Anfield, along with Ba and Tomas Kalas.

Ba said: “I would say he put the reserve team out. A lot of the players that started that day were not in the starting XI every week.

“So we went out like this, but he still expected us to win.

“He was very motivated to win that game. He was loud in the dressing room.

“It was not him telling us how important it was to win, he was saying, ‘we came here to win, we’re not going to give up’ and was giving us the motivation.” Then came Gerro’s slip, stunning Anfield on the stroke of half-time.

Liverpool v Chelsea: Demba Ba says ‘I don’t feel sorry for Gerrard, they lost to our reserves’ following ex-Anfield captain’s infamous slipPA:Press Association3 Steven Gerrard might forever rue the slip that handed Man City the Premier League crown in 2014

As the Kop captain received the ball he lost his footing, with Ba lurking behind.

The striker had seen Didier Drogba do the same four years earlier when Gerro gifted him a goal with a backpass. And now it was his turn.

Ba said: “That is what a striker does. Like 90 per cent of other strikers, we are not built for defending and we’re not good at it.

“We can cheat a little bit. We are pressing but we are not really pressing the way that defenders are pressing.

“If a defender has the ball and turns, we start pressing the goalkeeper before he passes back because if they make a mistake, it is a chance.

“We always gamble and I was there at the right time. I gambled a little bit.”

There was still work to do as Ba raced away from Liverpool’s defence and, through on goal, had keeper Simon Mignolet to beat.

Ba said: “Coming from the middle of the goal, I had no angle.

“I managed to go between the goalkeeper’s legs because the angle was so tight. It worked out.”

As Ba knelt and kissed the grass, Gerrard picked up the ball to try to revive Liverpool’s title hopes.

Did it mean much to the goalscorer? Ba said: “Not really. For them, obviously it was. But not for us. If they won that game they would have won the league.”

A second from Willian sealed Chelsea’s 2-0 victory, then Crystal Palace’s draw in the Reds’ next game all but ended their title dream.

Lunch is almost over for Ba. At Basaksehir his team-mates are ex-Manchester City star Robinho, old Arsenal favourite Emmanuel Adebayor and former Newcastle midfielder Emre Belozoglu.

His arrival from China this year caused an internet stir when he posed in an owl mask — the emblem of his new club.

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He said: “I love it here and the people love me, so I’m just going to keep enjoying what I do.

“I’ve got some years ahead of me for sure.”

To cap that Anfield goal will take some doing, even if it means little to him.

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