Captain Steven Gerrard apologised for letting down team-mates, manager Brendan Rodgers and fans with a needless moment of madness which saw him sent off after just 43 seconds in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.
The midfielder accepted full responsibility for the defeat after being dismissed for stamping on Ander Herrera less than a minute after coming on for the start of the second half.
Liverpool were already trailing 1-0 thanks to Juan Mata’s opener and the Spain international added a second before the Reds, playing better with 10 men, pulled one back through Daniel Sturridge.
Rodgers refused to criticize Gerrard, who departs for Los Angeles Galaxy this summer, and praised him for making a fulsome apology.
“I need to accept it, the decision was right. I have let my team-mates and manager down today, even more importantly I let all the supporters down and I take full responsibility for my action,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.
“I tried to jump his tackle; I saw his studs and I reacted wrong. I’ve been in the game long enough to know when you do something like that, especially at the timing of the game, at half-time with 45 to play, a great opportunity to get back in the game. I take full responsibility for it.”
“He is a highly competitive player. He made a great challenge when he came on (against Mata), probably our first challenge of the game.
“It is big of someone when they do get sent off to come out and apologise. He was probably frustrated watching us in the first half, we didn’t make a tackle. He was man enough to come out and apologise.
“I won’t criticise him. He has been brilliant since I came here. We will move on.”
Gerrard’s former team-mate Jamie Carragher felt the 34-year-old allowed his own disappointment to affect his judgement.
“There’s no doubt that not playing at Swansea (in Liverpool’s last game) and then not playing this game would be a frustration,” he told Sky Sports.
“He’s been at Liverpool 17, 18 years; he’s always been the man, the captain. There’s never been a case where he’s been out of the team and as soon as he’s fit he goes straight back in the team.
“This is the first time I think, last week at Swansea and today, that hasn’t happened, so there’ll be frustration there.
“Watching the first half from the bench he’d have been disappointed. Liverpool weren’t playing well; they were losing 1-0.
“But there would have been more frustration. I think he’d have been watching players in his position performing not great and thinking, ‘Why am I not playing, why am I not on that pitch?’
“Steven Gerrard is an emotional player. You see that in his career and it’s taken teams I’ve played in into some unbelievable moments.
“Sometimes he hasn’t played with his brain in terms of when he’s done well; it’s been his heart – the (FA) Cup final against West Ham, Istanbul (the Champions League final). That wasn’t Steven Gerrard playing with a cold, calculated head that was just playing from the heart. He can do special things like that.
“But on the flip side of that, when he plays in games like this and he comes on maybe a bit frustrated – he’s had seven red cards in his career, four of them have been Everton and Manchester United, two each now. An Everton one was coming off the bench, an Everton one was 15, 20 minutes into a game. I think the United other one was an FA Cup game in the first half and if I think right they were all straight reds.
“There’s no doubt being a local player, the emotion of these occasions, the frustration coming into this game, has contributed to the moment of madness.”