Mind Control: How Dr Steve Peters Supercharged Liverpool’s Epic 2013/14 Season

- - Seasons

Head and Cogs Outline on Red Jigsaw PuzzleJust six games lost, 26 won, 101 goals scored, 84 points claimed.

Those look like the stats of a Premier League champion, and they might have been had Steven Gerrard not misplaced his feet in a key game against Chelsea. Welcome to Liverpool’s 2013/14 season.

Gerrard. Suarez. Sterling. Sturridge. Outrageous talents moulded into an (almost) unstoppable force by Brendan Rodgers, who nearly guided the Reds to their first title of the Premier League era.

But there’s another individual who deserves plenty of credit for nearly ending the club’s long wait for the best of the domestic honours – not that you’d recognise him if he walked past you in the street.

Dr Steve Peters is now better known as the sports psychologist in Ronnie O’Sullivan’s corner, appearing in his documentary ‘The Edge of Everything’ and proving an invaluable asset during the breaks in the Rocket’s World Championship final appearance in 2022.

Peters was also employed as a mind coach by Rodgers during the 2013/14 campaign, helping a number of Reds’ players conquer their demons and take their levels to all new highs – and to the cusp of a Premier League title.

From the Horse’s Mouth

Red and Black Isolated Office Chairs

Peters was given an office behind the scenes of the club, with the players told that they didn’t have to go and see him if they didn’t want to – only if they felt the psychologist could help them to unlock their best performances.

At the time, Rodgers complimented Peters as ‘one of the leading guys’ in sports neurology, continuing:

“The modern game is very much about the psychological aspect of it. I do lots of technical, tactical and physical training and sometimes what gets bypassed is the mental tuning for players, especially in the modern game at the top level.”

One of the most prominent supporters of Peters’ work at Anfield was Jamie Carragher, who was of course in the autumn of his career during that infamous 2013/14 season.

“If I had a bad game or was at fault for a goal, I’d find it difficult to get over, I couldn’t erase it from my memory the next day,” the defender recalled.

“I spoke to Dr Steve Peters and I realised that you’re not fixing the problem, you’re almost accepting it.

“That feeling you’ve got about being down or angry about a performance is what drives you on in the next training session or in the next game and you can’t get it out of your head.”

And Raheem Sterling, who was barely out of his teens during that breakthrough season, thanked Peters for helping recover from a crisis of confidence.

“I started looking for easy options rather than taking a chance myself, beating a man, taking a shot on myself,” the forward recalled.

“I’d stopped being natural, (and doing) all the things that I’d done which got me into the first team in the first place.

“He [Peters] understands the players and the emotional side of the game. What he says really helps you.”

What Does Steve Peters Teach?

Wireframe Human Brain

If they really bought into his methods, you can see how the professor was able to elevate Liverpool to whole new levels.

Peters, via his various teachings which includes his heralded ‘Chimp Paradox’ text, believes that human beings effectively have two parts to their brain: the rational, logical part, and a mischievous slice he’s termed the ‘chimp’ which can fill our minds with negative thoughts and cause all manner of ills from low confidence to imposter syndrome.

The key, according to Peters – who has also worked with the England national team and British Cycling – is to ‘box away’ your chimp, locking it up tight by ensuring your rational mind is front and centre in all that you do.

“We have spontaneous thinking from a machine inside our heads. Our machine thinks actively for us when we might not even agree with the thoughts,” he has taught.

“We are not responsible for some emotions or thoughts but we are responsible for managing them, there is a difference.”

His connection to Liverpool FC ended when Rodgers was latterly sacked in 2015 – a time when his players’ performances had tailed off to the extent that Peters’ methods were no longer proving decisive.

But even so, for all the good times that have followed courtesy of Jurgen Klopp and co, the foundations for Liverpool’s latter day successes were laid when Dr Steve Peters rolled into Merseyside for the first time.

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