Liverpool’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, has accused Kevin Mirallas of making a tackle that might have ended Luis Suarez’s career.
The Everton midfielder escaped with a yellow card after a high challenge that caught the Liverpool striker on the back of his knee during a frantic 3-3 draw at Goodison Park. The incident provoked arguments between Liverpool’s medical staff and some Everton players.
The Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, said he could understand why Rodgers felt Mirallas should have been dismissed but highlighted another potential sending-off, when the Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, appeared to elbow Gareth Barry in the head.
Martinez added that Gerrard had “used his experience” to push the ball “three or four yards further forward” for the free-kick that saw Daniel Sturridge equalise for the visitors in the last minute of normal time.
Alan Hansen, analysing the game for Match of the Day, argued that Gerrard did not “swing his elbow” and therefore did not deserve to have been sent off. He added that he regarded the 221st Merseyside derby as better than the celebrated 4-4 draw between the two sides in February 1991 that is considered the high-water mark of this fixture.
Rodgers wondered what would have happened had it been Suarez who made the tackle. “I thought Mirallas should have been sent off,” he said. “It would have been interesting if it had been Luis who had made the challenge.
“It is a really, really bad one. It has caught him right on the back of his knee, and that can end your career. It was awful and it took Luis 10 to 15 minutes to run it off.
“He was down for a long time and he doesn’t tend to do that. When he ‘rolls about’ he tends to get up quickly,” Rodgers said with a smile. “There was a bit of a kerfuffle with the medical staff. Sometimes the players don’t realise what has gone on and they don’t have the advantage of seeing the replay of the incident. When we saw the replay we knew it could be a serious injury.
He said there “were not many players in the world” who would have travelled some 20,000 miles to take part in Uruguay’s World Cup play-offs and then start a game having only returned to Liverpool on Thursday night. “His appetite is just remarkable,” said Rodgers, who was saved from defeat by Sturridge, who had only trained on Friday after picking up an injury during England’s defeat by Germany on Tuesday night.