The next 30 minutes are going to be a challenge for Steven Gerrard. From the moment he walks into a meeting room at Liverpool’s plush hotel, he knows where the conversation will head.
As soon as he puts his phone and wash bag on the floor and settles into a chair, he knows it will be necessary to revisit the events of April 27.
That, of course, was the day Liverpool’s exhilarating surge to win a first league title since 1990 came asunder; the day the fates conspired against him.
He had set himself to control a ball from Mamadou Sakho when he slipped and Chelsea striker Demba Ba sped away. Thousands of dreams died as Chelsea won 2-0.
With some players, reopening old wounds would be strictly off limits but Gerrard is different. He has never shied away from the difficult subjects and, even though this is particularly painful, he is not about to start now.
So how was it after Chelsea?
‘You are a brave man asking this question,’ comes the reply, his eyes narrowing. ‘How do you think it was? You tell me.’
The worst day of your life?
‘There’s your answer.’
Once the issue is broached, Gerrard opens up. Few people in football speak with such searing honesty and, in some ways, this is cathartic. It has been a demanding, draining period in his professional life but speaking about it now can bring closure.
‘It was cruel,’ he says. ‘I haven’t lost my man at a set piece. I haven’t missed a penalty. I haven’t made a bad pass or a mistake. Every single person on the planet slips at some point in their life, whether it is on a set of stairs, on the floor or whatever.
‘For me, it happened on the pitch at a really bad moment. But, you know, over the course of 38 games, a lot happens for you and against you and that determines whether you win the league or not. But that happened at a really crucial time and I have to face that