MANAUS, Brazil (AP) — Many footballers would struggle to recover from a lapse that cost his team the league title. After a difficult few weeks, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's mind is clear of the anguish and ready to lead England at the World Cup.
"I have moved on," Gerrard said ahead of Saturday's Group D opener against Italy. "I am in a great place mentally, physically, I feel strong and I believe I can go and perform."
Less than two months ago, Liverpool had one hand on the Premier League trophy until Gerrard slipped in a crucial game against Chelsea and the London club went on to win at Anfield. Manchester City then pipped Liverpool to the title by two points.
"It drove me mad for a few nights, a few weeks, it was a big moment and went against me," Gerrard recalled. "It would have driven me crazier if it was a mistake and I had lost a man at a corner or not prepared properly.
"If I made a genuine error that was my fault I would have struggled to recover from it, but everyone in the world has slipped. Whether it is on a football pitch, a curb or a wet floor. It is one of those things that you cannot control. It is a freak incident that happens."
Given Gerrard's contribution in midfield throughout the season, thriving in a deeper role, you'd struggle to find anyone in Liverpool blaming him.
"My form over the whole season got stronger and stronger and certainly when I move back into the controlling role I have been really happy with my form and my consistency," Gerrard said. "It has been up there with some of the best football I have played. Of course what happened against Chelsea was a setback for me personally but when you play at the top you are under pressure every single game."