SINGAPORE - With one broken stride, Steven Gerrard broke neutral hearts everywhere. The man who carries the weight of Liverpool's world upon his shoulders finally crumpled. In a rare, devastating moment of weakness, he wilted.
Dramatic acts of brilliance live on in the memory, but a shocking blunder is seared into the soul.
Liverpool can lose the title, but not like this, never like this.
Football is not known for its sense of humour, but this borders on sadistic and cruel.
The skipper lost his footing, the ball and the game. It happens.
But his mistake last night will haunt him for years to come if it isn't rectified in the final two games.
Liverpool now have just 180 minutes to fix this setback and hope that Manchester City give them a helping hand in ending their skipper's eternal nightmares.
In Gerrard's dreams, Demba Ba will have miles to go before he sleeps. His run will replay itself endlessly. The poor pass, the slip, the slide, Ba's interception and his effortless finish beneath an onrushing Simon Mignolet. Gerrard won't forget it. He can't forget it.
His tears against Manchester City showed he was human. Chelsea's opening goal showed he was just as susceptible to human error.
His peerless, pivotal performances in his new position have underpinned Liverpool's title challenge. Ironically, his positioning for the goal undermined Liverpool's tactics.
Determined to break Chelsea's defensiveness, he had dropped deeper to drive Liverpool forward.
He tried to split Chelsea's defence, but ended up splitting his own. As he slotted in between Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho, he pushed them apart like a no-nonsense marriage counsellor dealing with an unhappy couple.
When Sakho passed sideways to Gerrard, there was no other red shirt around him to possibly address his unexpected mistake. Skrtel was nowhere. Ba had a free run at glory. Against the run of play, Chelsea trotted off at the interval a goal ahead.