Everton manager David Moyes hopes for strong referee against Liverpool

 

David Moyes hopes Everton's chances of victory in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on Sunday will not be unduly affected by refereeing decisions.

The Toffees boss was furious after last season's defeat by their city rivals at Goodison Park when Jack Rodwell was sent off for a tackle on Luis Suarez, a decision that was later rescinded.

Everton have already been dealt a blow with the absence of key midfielder Steven Pienaar, who was shown a red card in last weekend's 1-1 draw at QPR and serves a one-match ban.

The South African's second yellow card for a foul on Jose Bosingwa also earned Moyes' wrath, and he feels Everton have been on the wrong end of a number of decisions so far this season.

The Scot said: "It was a ludicrous decision, it really was. The boy kicked Steven Pienaar and Steven Pienaar got punished for it. And not even to get a phone call to say sorry, you find that hard as well. But it's happened and we move on.

"We could have had a couple of goals against Newcastle, the first goal at Wigan was offside and then the decision last weekend. And you go back to last year's derby where it was a terrible decision to send Jack Rodwell off.

"We've still not had an apology from either the referee or the head of the referees' authority regarding that incident but there you go. That one's well gone and I shouldn't even be talking about it."

Andre Marriner will oversee this weekend's match, and Moyes believes officials need to be stronger when confronted with players who go to ground easily.

He said: "We've got to be careful. People are going to turn away from football if they continue to go to watch people who throw themselves on the ground when they're not touched.

"I think it's important you do get someone who's strong enough to identify what are the right challenges and the wrong ones, and in last year's game we got really badly done by a terrible refereeing decision."

The loss of Pienaar could be alleviated by the return of midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who missed last weekend's game after picking up a knee injury.

The Belgian has returned to light training, while long-serving full-back Tony Hibbert could also feature after more than a month out with a calf injury.

Moyes said of Fellaini: "He's doing a bit of light training so we'll see how he is. He's not a definite but I think he's got a good chance. Tony Hibbert's the same. We're not 100% sure but we'll monitor him."

A consistent team has been crucial to Everton's early-season success, and the derby would certainly not have been the game Moyes would have wanted to throw in fringe players.

Of Pienaar's absence, he added: "It will be hard to replace him individually because of what he gives and that's why last week's decision was even worse. If we don't have Pienaar or Fellaini then it will be two big players out.

"We played in the cup at Leeds United, we didn't do very well, and folk question why you change the team but you have to because when you have suspensions or injuries, those people have to be ready to come in and show what they can do."

Moyes has won only four matches against Liverpool since taking charge at Goodison Park a decade ago, and last season the Toffees lost both league matches to their rivals and an FA Cup semi-final.

Despite that, they finished above them in the Premier League, and Everton go into Sunday's clash six points and eight places above Brendan Rodgers' side.

Moyes remains focused on the bigger picture, but he is hoping the Toffees can continue the form that has seen them lose only one of their opening eight league matches.

He said: "We didn't beat Liverpool last year and we finished above them in the league so it's a really important three points but it might not make a big difference to the league position come the end of the season.

"The important thing is to see if we can stay up there in a lofty position. We've very rarely been up there at this time of the season.

"We go into the game in good fettle, we've got a bit of momentum, we've started quite brightly and hopefully we'll continue to play the way we have done."

PA

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