Criticism 'seems to inspire him' Steven Gerrard says of Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez

 

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has warned Premier League rivals if they try to wind up Luis Suarez they should be prepared for a backlash from the Uruguayan.

The 25-year-old striker was at the centre of most things in yesterday's 2-2 draw in the 219th Merseyside derby, scoring once, seeing a cross-shot deflected in and having an added-time winner wrongly ruled out for offside.

Suarez also produced a humorous response to Everton manager David Moyes by diving at the Scot's feet after his assertion the 25-year-old was turning people off football by going to ground too easily.

Gerrard said the South American seemed to thrive on the criticism.

"Luis Suarez was fantastic for us again," said the midfielder.

"He doesn't need David Moyes to fire him up. But if people want to try to get in Luis' head and wind him up then it's the wrong thing to do.

"You saw from yesterday's evidence that it seems to inspire him rather than go against him.

"I can't control what he does when he scores a goal, I was just happy to see it (Suarez's deflected strike for the opener) hit the back of the net."

Gerrard also criticised Phil Neville after the Everton captain was booked for diving in the first half.

In his post-match press conference Moyes said he had spoken to Neville about it and the player himself admitted his actions were wrong.

"With what he said about Luis Suarez before, David Moyes was trying to get in the referee's head, which is fine, that's all part of the game stuff like that," said Gerrard.

"But if that's the case you don't expect your captain to dive like that.

"I think Phil Neville badly let his manager down.

"His manager did every paper, every radio station and every TV channel talking about Luis Suarez and then his captain, who is meant to be setting an example, blatantly dives.

"If David Moyes is a real man and a real manager, which I think he is, then he will be speaking to Phil Neville about his dive."

Gerrard also reserved some criticism for the officials after a couple of key decisions went against Liverpool.

"I've seen it (Suarez's disallowed goal) again and we can feel sorry ourselves because it was a clear goal," said the England captain.

"We should have taken away the three points rather than just one.

"There is no offside and it's difficult for me to explain it. The only person who can explain it is the linesman.

"I asked him after the game if it was offside and he said 'I think so'. That's not good enough.

"If every decision in this league is based on 'we think so' then we're in trouble.

"The linesman got it badly wrong. The benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the attacking player anyway.

"And for their second goal, it's a clear throw-in to us.

"The linesman (not the one who flagged Suarez offside) gives us the throw but the referee (Andre Marriner) saw something different.

"He gave Everton the throw and their second goal came from that."

Liverpool fielded five derby debutants in their starting line-up and the introduction of Sebastian Coates made it six when he came on at half-time.

The average age of the Reds team yesterday was just under 25 with the likes of teenagers Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom included.

"I feel sorry for our lads because I thought we were fantastic and deserved to win," said Gerrard.

"We had a young, small team out there but they were all men and stuck together.

"There was one team here who came to play football and win the game and that was us."

Manager Brendan Rodgers, also experiencing his first Merseyside derby, agreed.

"Raheem is 17 years old, Suso is 18, Andre 19, Jonjo Shelvey 20, while Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson are 22," he said.

"They are all young players who will only grow and get better and better.

"So it was another terrific stride forward for us.

"I look at my team and how they stood up to everything against a very experienced team in a real cauldron of an atmosphere and I am very proud."

PA

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