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Oh the ignominy for Steven Gerrard - sent off 38/42 seconds (depends who you're listening to, but it doesn't matter) after coming on against Manchester Utd on Sunday. Hang your head in shame Steven, and the apology was both necessary and welcome.

But there was something else that slipped through in the post match i/view that struck a chord with me - 'I don't want to say anything else right now', he added, after bravely facing the cameras and taking full responsibility for a moment of madness.

What is it that Gerrard wants to say? I'll tell you what I think it is. He's steaming mad at the scandalous way he's been treated by specifically Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool in general.

Rodgers has won his war with Gerrard. The skipper is out of the club at the end of the season. And make no mistake, despite Rodgers' efforts to blame 'time' for Gerrard's decision to leave HE is to blame. He's won the war, but he lost Sunday's battle. And it could yet be a very costly battle to have lost.

Liverpool made Gerrard an offer he COULD refuse when they put a contract extension to him earlier this season. That was the sole purpose of their offer, force Gerrard into making the decision to leave. Let him go public, thereby avoiding any blame for the outcome themselves. Rodgers wanted him out. With Carragher already gone Rodgers knew that with Gerrard on the way out too, the club was now his - all his.

Gerrard used his mate Carragher as his mouthpiece to hint at what was going on whilst remaining publicly very dignified. Rodgers has continued to heap praise on his inspirational skipper whilst quietly continuing to humiliate and frustrate him whenever he could.

This stand off started in Madrid remember, when Rodgers left Gerrard on the bench - and seething, watching the team he'd inspired into the C Lge, slip to defeat. You can imagine what was going through his mind. 'Is this why I gave up playing for my country? Is this why I worked so hard to get this team into the C Lge last season. Will I ever get the chance to play here again?'

Rodgers made seven changes that night and told us the team he picked was the best one to do the job. No it wasn't, they lost. And it's why he restored the seven he'd left out for the following weekends league match, including Gerrard.

Rodgers picked the wrong team. He mistakenly believed he could steer Liverpool to the ko stages of the C Lge after tossing the Real Madrid game off. Wrong again.

He also got his team selection wrong this past weekend. Gerrard HAD to start against Manchester United. HAD to. It was a game that his name stamped all over it. Liverpool NEEDED their captain for this one.

I'm not buying into the hype that surrounds Liverpool right now. Yes, they've had a terrific run, but it hasn't been without a great deal of good fortune and so far, their only real test has come against United. They failed it.

They were ordinary the previous weekend at Swansea. What was the answer? Send for Gerrard. His presence calmed them, gave them some structure, and they won. I'm sorry, they're simply not good enough without him right now.

This nonsense that Henderson is the 'new' enforcer is laughable. He's a good player, but that's it. He might grow into a more dominant force, but at the moment he's not.

Liverpool's midfield was over run by Utd. In fairness to Van Gaal he got it spot on. He exploited the weaknesses in Liverpool's system and bossed their 'lightweight' midfield. A midfield in the image of their gaffer - nice.

Gerrard is a legend for good reason. He's one of few I've watched across 45 years that could 'run' a game. Bryan Robson was another.  So too Ray Wilkins. There's Souness, of course. Go back further - Mackay, Bonds, Ball, they are few and far between though. They were special. Gerrard is one of them.

Liverpool have let him go far too soon. I accept that he's not the force he once was, but he's still a force. His very presence at the club is a force. People listen to him, which is why Rodgers doesn't want him there anymore.

Gerrard held his tongue at the weekend, as he has done since announcing 'his' decision to move on. I can't wait to hear what he really has to say!

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Oh to be a fly on the wall in the office of either Ferran Soriano, the Manchester City chief exec, or Txiki Begiristain, director of football, any time these past few days.

These are the two guys directly responsible for the mess City currently find themselves. Let me explain. 

Soriano was first in at The Etihad. In Oct 2012 he asked his buddy Begiristain to help 'recreate the success they'd had at Barcelona'. That's what we were told. That's what both believed then and are probably more convinced about now.

Hang on. 'The success they'd had'?  What success was that exactly? Behind the scenes one or the other, perhaps both, can argue that they did their bit helping to run a very successful football club at Barca. I stress 'helping'. At City, Soriano has 'helped' Increase revenue to £347m, but that's where the triumphs end. 

Back to Barca. Any success achieved off the field was as a result of the outstanding job Pep Guardlola had on it. Simple.

Sadly, Soriano and Begiristain both believed it was down to them. Their planning. Their thinking. Their structures. Their buying. Their triumphs. Wrong. Wrong and wrong again. It wasn't. 

When will football execs and administrators learn that their skills are best confined to the office space they occupy. Leave football matters to football people.

Flushed with 'their' successes at the Nou Camp their pitched up in Manchester and set about trying to replicate the Barca model.  One major problem though - Guardiola didn't come with them. 

Roberto Mancini was in charge of playing matters then, carefully working on a master plan to make City the best domestically - and then in europe. 

He signed Aguero. He signed Toure. And he delivered trophies, going head to head with United in one of the most dramatic finishes to a season anywhere or at any time. He got City's players to believe. He got City's supporters to believe that no longer would they be the 'king's of the cock up'.

The next stage was to instil that mentality all over the club. To get people to live 'on the edge'. You've heard me say this before, in a place where they were uncomfortable, just as Fergie had done at United and Guardiola had done at Barca. To create winners. Nice guys don't win much. 

He wanted to sign Robin Van Persie, a deal which he took charge of and wasn't going to be difficult to get over the line. The trouble was the 'money men' thought they were clever and tried to re-negotiate his agreed terms, not once or twice, but for months. In the end Fergie stepped in and offered Van Persie what he wanted, knowing HIS squad weren't good enough and that Van Persie would win him a title. Mancini knew it as well. Van Persie should've been a City player.

There were others - Cavani and Hazard - are two high profile 'misses'. Oh, and there's another, playing at the top end of the English game right now, that had agreed to join as well. 

What happened? The clever guys from Barca failed.

They also failed to check the growing mutiny, in the dressing room, that Mancini had on his hands. Instead of making it plain who was running the football team, they saw an opportunity to strengthen their positions and Mancini was sacrificed. Madness. With him went a decade of domination. I call it the 'lost decade'. 

The two wise men went on to splash the cash on Mangala, Navas, Jovetic, Negredo, Fernando, Cabellero, Zuculini, Demichelis, Fernandinho and of course Bony. Total cost since they sacked Mancini £327m. And how many of their signings are currently in the starting X1? Most weeks - just two! Brilliant. It's still Mancini's team - but they're going backwards now.

There's a reason the French didn't take Nasri to the WC. Is Dzeko, who has admitted he did all he could to undermine Mancini, good enough at the top level? Kompany, a mid-field player operating at centre-back, is getting found out. Big YaYa had had enough last summer. It's chaos in that dressing room again, as I have said time and again.

Now we hear that the cull will start this summer. For me, it's two years too late. It might just be that it's all too late.

Just think what might have been. Mancini, the senior man in Manchester for the first time in 27 years when Fergie retired. Van Persie, Cavani and Hazard running riot - not to mention the others that should've been done. 

But no, Soiano and Begiristain  waved in the era of 'holistic' football. What a load of nonsense.

So, what do they do next? They might get lucky and land a decent human being and proper football man in Ancelotti.  Simeone is for elsewhere I suspect. The only way these two can repair the damage they've done is to deliver Guardiola. 

There's a formula that might see something like that happen. If they could pull it off it would keep the two of them in work for a good deal longer that's for sure, but this time guys understand whose success it would really be if titles and cups flowed again.

The biggest stumbling block isn't that Guardiola might not leave Bayern. It's simply that he's set his heart on working elsewhere. Well, elsewhere in Manchester anyway!

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It's not too many weeks since I posted a blog here slating Mike Riley, the head of English Premier League refs, or to give the body their correct title, the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL).

Mike and his boys had a torrid time over Christmas and the New Year. I wasn't alone in wondering how much worse it could get as one big decision after another was called incorrectly and it felt like we were on the brink of meltdown.

Refs looked scared. It appeared too scared to make a decision as they bumbled from one game to the next. They looked low on confidence and one big name Manager after another was calling into question their abilities - culminating with Jose Mourinho going public with his 'campaign' rant! 

Some weeks later I met up with the EPL's Chief Exec, Richard Scudamore, out here in Doha. I've known Richard for a very long time and count him as a friend. He's a good guy, granted not everybody's favourite, but a good guy. He was none too impressed by my criticisms of Mike and his 'team'. 'Have you ever met Mike?' He asked? My answer as 'No'. 'Well you should. I'll fix it', he added.

True to his word (and I've always found that to be the case) he did. I flew to London to watch the Chelsea v PSG (what a thunderous affair that was. And the outcome was very pleasing for my guv'nors here!) and fitted in time with Mike.

Now, here's the really annoying bit. He's an x-ref right? One that I often found over fussy. I also thought he could be bullied - as Ashley Cole proved that night at White Hart Lane - when he refused to show his shirt to Riley, who wanted to book him.

So, my pre-conception was that I wasn't going to like him. Wrong. Damn it. He's a really nice guy!

We had brunch and then sat down to do an interview for BeIN Sports. He answered all my queries with ease and I even had him chuckling at one point! Fair play to you Mike.

Amongst my questions was the practice of 'dropping' refs after a bad game. Remember poor old Mark Halsey getting a six-game ban for not seeing that Callum McManaman challenge at Wigan? Some used to get sent to the F Lge, but why? If they're not good enough at the top level why should the F Lge put up with them?

Well, it turns out it doesn't happen anymore. Mike's view is that they need to get back involved as quickly as their own confidence will allow. Some need a break. Some perhaps sit a game out and work as 4th official. Others bounce straight back into action. I'll be watching Mike to be sure you haven't pulled the wool over my eyes on this one!

He's a big advocate of an independent time keeper. In fact, it's something that he's already proposed and seen blocked, but he assures me he'll try again.

As everyone knows, I was very anti goal line technology, not because it wouldn't work and I don't deny its been useful. My argument has always been that it's the thin end of the wedge. That it would inevitably lead to more use of TV and I don't like that idea.

I know there's a body of opinion believes it will be the answer to all the game's current ills, but it won't. Why do we want to sanitise the best sport in the world? Isn't it what makes football different - and great. That we all have an opinion? It's why we're always talking about the game.

There's an experiment going on in Holland right now to see if TV evidence can be worked into football. Mike and his assistant, Howard Webb, have been to watch the video ref in action.

Here's why it won't be the panacea that everybody thinks. Mike told me that within 5 mins the video ref was needed. The match ref booked a defender, who dragged down a forward clean thro on goal. He called for the 4th official in the TV trucks to assure him he'd made the correct decision. After some time it was agreed he had. Mike and Howard looked at each other and both said 'that's red'. A matter of 'fact' quickly became a matter of 'opinion'. Stop/start. Stop/start. Of course TV wants it to add to the drama of match coverage. I don't!

Anyway - I've called a truce with Mike and his boys - if they can finish the season on a high. Which is not to say there won't be controversy somewhere!

I did leave him with one small idea I've believed in for some time - and he assured he'd take it before the technical committee because he liked it!

It's simple - if a player is fouled in the box - he should get up and take the pen. Why? Because most of them don't want to take pens. It may not make a difference - but I believe it would encourage one or two more to stay on their feet in the box.

I came up with the idea after seeing Warren Barton, playing for Newcastle, con a ref at Coventry. Alan Shearer stepped up and smashed the penalty in. I checked with Barton some time later and I was right - he wouldn't have fancied the pen but he knew Shearer would score. I put the idea to Alan recently and predictably he didn't like it! But think about it - why not? Of course, if a handball is awarded then your nominated taker can have a go. But, It might help - so why not? Mike liked it anyway!!

You can watch the full half hour interview with Mike Riley in regions where BeIN Sports is available.