Steven Gerrard says the slip that arguably ended Liverpool's title hopes and England being knocked out the World Cup in the group stages have contributed to what has been "probably the worst three months of my life".
Speaking to reporters on Liverpool's pre-season tour of North America, the 34-year-old addressed the moment when he lost his footing against Chelsea in late April, allowing Demba Ba to open the scoring. The Blues went on to win 2-0, a result that effectively ended Liverpool's push for a first title since 1990 as well as Gerrard's hopes of a Premier League crown, the only club trophy that eludes him.
"Where do I rank it? It's probably the worst three months of my life. There is nothing else to say really is there," Gerrard told reporters in New Jersey.
"You get a support network around you of the people you are close to. That's been the case since day one, people who have watched me since before I made my debut. They are always there for me. They always will be," he added.
"They rally around you and try to pick you up but when something like that happens, you have to try and face it. I am man enough to take it on the chin and accept it. It has happened and I can't change it."
- "Really Bad Moment" -
Along with strikers Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, now at Barcelona, Gerrard had been one of the driving forces behind Liverpool's resurgence last season. A one-club man, he keenly felt the pain of missing out on the title, and admitted he had watched his slip since and was resigned to be being asked about it for the foreseeable future. "That's why it was cruel. I haven't made a mistake, I haven't lost my man at a set-piece. I haven't missed a penalty. I haven't made a bad pass," Gerrard said.
"Every single person on the planet slips at some point in their life, whether it's on the stairs, on the floor or whatever. For me, it happened on the pitch at a really bad moment. "But over the course of 38 games a lot happens for you and against you and that determines if you win the league or not. But that moment happened at a really crucial time and I have to face that. And I will."
Gerrard said he hoped a successful World Cup campaign in Brazil would help ease the hurt but defeats to Italy and Uruguay and a draw with Costa Rica meant England left early. He has since retired from international duty.
"Unfortunately, I have had that tough time at club level at the end of the season, then I have gone into a World Cup hoping that it was going to go really well to help me get over it. But it backfired," he added. "I have had two really massive unbelievable lows in a short space of time, so it is a good test for me this season.
"Can I hit form after that? I believe that I can."