Chelsea did not enjoy breaking Liverpool’s hearts in 2014 by winning 2-0 at Anfield, according to Demba Ba – but the former striker insists he feels no guilt despite pouncing on a humiliating Steven Gerrard slip.
Jose Mourinho’s side punished a sloppy Reds outfit who were inches away from sealing a first title in decades as they battled with Manchester City in the final games of the season, and Chelsea proved to be their final stumbling block.
Goals from Ba and Willian, both from counter attacks, ensured a day of misery for Liverpool fans that will go down in Premier League history – with City going on to win the league after Brendan Rodgers’ men imploded.
Liverpool would go on to surrender a 3-0 lead against Crystal Palace in the following game to hand their rivals the crown.
Speaking to the Athletic, Ba said the Blues took no pleasure from causing the heartbreak and just savoured the three points – and admits had no clue the game held so much significance until a few years had passed.
‘It was traumatic for them,’ he said. ‘But we didn’t enjoy the fact that we killed their dream, we simply enjoyed winning.’
‘I only realised how big a deal that was a couple of years later, when people still talked about it. They still talk about it!’
That 2013-14 season was the perfect chance for Reds skipper Gerrard to claim his first ever Premier League crown, but it couldn’t have ended any worse for the legendary midfielder as he slipped to the turf after what should have been a simple collecting of possession – with Ba stealing the ball off him and racing through to score the first goal.
That moment has been a source of embarrassment to Liverpool fans and of course Gerrard himself ever since, but Ba said he felt no guilt and claimed it was simply part of football, but praised the player’s achievements in the game.
”No, not really. because that’s the game,’ he added. ‘You make errors and others take advantage. What Steven Gerrard has done for the world of football is tremendous. But this is life, unfortunately. Not all stories can end in fairytales.’
Ba, who has now retired after rounding off his playing days in Turkey and Switzerland, remembers then-Chelsea boss Mourinho firing up his troops by urging them to show they were more than just underdogs for the game, which inspired him to produce a top display.
‘I remember Jose saying: “They think we’re a Mickey Mouse team! But we will show them!” And we went out fighting. I was up against Martin Skrtel and Mama (Mamadou Sakho) and I played an unbelievable game. I felt like I did at Newcastle. This was the game that changed Jose’s view of me, I think.’
Ba played for just two seasons at Stamford Bridge, having been a surprise signing from Newcastle in 2012 – playing 51 games and scoring 14 times across that period – and he endured a rare trophyless patch during that time as the Blues struggled briefly after winning the Champions League in 2011-12.
The former Senegal international joined the Premier League with West Ham United in 2011, before linking up with Newcastle later that year, making his name at St James’ Park with a great partnership alongside Papiss Cisse.
The 2013-14 season that saw him cause such controversy would be his last in the English top flight. After leaving Chelsea, he would sign for Besiktas and later featured for Shanghai Shenhua before returning to Turkey with Istanbul Basaksehir.