(CNN)Jose Mourinho's "dear enemy" breached his Chelsea team's defense in a poignant Stamford Bridge farewell Sunday but it was not enough to give Liverpool the victory it needed to keep its Champions League hopes alive.
Departing Steven Gerrard scores in poignant farewell to Stamford Bridge
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Steven Gerrard, leaving Anfield for Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the season, headed a first half equalizer in the 1-1 draw and was given a standing ovation from all sides of the ground as he was substituted after the break.
Mourinho had paid fulsome tribute to the former England captain in the pre-match build up and revealed he had tried to sign the star midfielder while managing in his first spell at Chelsea and later at Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
It was a love match which was to prove unfulfilled and with Chelsea wrapping up the EPL title last weekend, Mourinho did not begrudge Gerrard his one last moment in the big-time limelight.
Gerrard returned the compliment in the post-match interviews. "I have huge respect for him. He's the best manager in the world in my opinion," he said.
"I would have signed for him on three occasions if I wasn't such a big Liverpool fan. He's the reason my head was turned on a couple of occasions but he knew why I couldn't do it, because I love Liverpool Football Club. It always means more when you win for your people."
He also reserved a barbed comment to the Chelsea fans, who have subjected him to plenty of opprobrium over the years. "It's nice of them to turn up for once," he said.
While Gerrard was on the pitch, he was a key figure in Liverpool's general dominance, despite falling behind to a typical headed goal from his fellow captain and international teammate John Terry on five minutes.
Gerrard scored his 12th of the season with a header from a Jordan Henderson free kick and his team might have grabbed the victory it needed to maintain its challenge for a top four place in the EPL against a rather lackluster home team.
Earlier Sunday, Queen's Park Rangers became the second team to be relegated from the English Premier League, humbled 6-0 by deposed champion Manchester City.
Sergio Aguero improved his chances of ending the season as the leading scorer in the EPL by grabbing a hat-trick -- taking his tally to 25. Aleksandar Kolarov, James Milner and David Silva were also on target in the one-sided rou