Steven Gerrard has revealed that the Hillsborough disaster was behind his emotional response to Liverpool’s victory over Manchester City.
The Liverpool captain, who lost 10-year-old cousin Jon-Paul Gilhooley in the tragedy, appeared to shed a tear following Sunday’s 3-2 win at Anfield.
And, as Liverpool prepare to mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster on Tuesday, Gerrard says the timing of the match contributed to his reaction.
“The reason I was so emotional was because of when this game fell,” he is widely reported as saying in the British media. “It wasn’t just because it was a big match in our season, it was because this week is always about more than football for everyone associated with Liverpool.
“It’s emotional for so many people. I’m speaking on behalf of everyone when I say the win was dedicated to the victims and families of Hillsborough.”
Liverpool are now two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, while Manchester City are a further five points adrift with two games in hand, but Gerrard is eager not to allow his emotions to distract him in the race for the title.
“Everyone knows how much I want it personally,” he added. “I’ve just got to stay calm, relax and take it each game as it comes. I’m trying to do that but it’s difficult to control my emotions.
“I’m just trying to do different things. In my spare time, I’m not sitting around thinking about it. I’m watching the TV, spending time with my kids and my friends to take my mind off it.
“I want the games to come every day, not every week, but that is unfortunately the way it goes. I’d love to play the remaining four games in the next four days but it is not possible.
“I have to manage the time well and make sure that I’m not getting anxious and wasting unnecessary energy.”