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DAVID MOYES’ feud with Luis Suarez deepened last night after the Everton boss claimed the striker should have been sent off.
Suarez wound Moyes up in the first half by celebrating Liverpool’s first goal with a swallow dive in front of the Everton dug-out.
But the Scot insisted the striker should have been sent off for standing on the back of Sylvain Distin’s leg in the 71st minute.
He escaped with a yellow card, but Moyes said: “It’s definitely a sending off. The tackle from behind, down Sylvain’s leg. It’s over the top, down the back of the leg.”
Liverpool boss Rodgers disagreed and said: “I don’t think it was a red, I don’t see that. Sometimes you get that with strikers. It’s just a fraction out. He tried to play the ball.”
Moyes singled out Suarez before the derby by pointing out that diving like his was driving fans away from the game.
But afterwards he claimed to see the funny side of Suarez’s inflammatory celebration after Leighton Baines had deflected in his shot for Liverpool’s opener.
“I thought it was great,” he said. “I actually quite liked that. It’s the sort of thing I’d have done, but he was a very lucky man to stay on the pitch for his tackle on Distin.”
Toffees boss Moyes’ daughter Lauren was not so sure, tweeting: “Very surprised my dad didn’t just nut Suarez.”
She soon deleted the message though and added: “Sorry if that last tweet offended anyone. Caught up in the moment.”
Everton fought back from 2-0 down for a point thanks, but Rodgers believes he should have been celebrating three points after Suarez’s injury-time goal was wrongly disallowed for offside.
“I was bitterly disappointed at not getting the winner,” he said.
“I am so disappointed it didn’t count because it was an easy decision.
I’m not going to keep going on about officials, but that one was quite straightforward.”
The joke may have been on him but David Moyes took it in his stride afterwards when conceding that Luis Suarez "is going to have to dive in front of a lot of managers now" after the Uruguayan celebrated Liverpool's opening goal with a theatrical tumble in front of the Everton manager yesterday.
For Suarez, the celebration was a little act of retaliation after Moyes's pre-match comment that diving from players like the Liverpool forward could turn people off football. Moyes offered a good-humoured response afterwards, when saying: "I actually quite liked that. [It was] the sort of thing I might have done if I'd scored."
While Moyes kept his cool, his daughter Lauren tweeted: "Very surprised my dad didn't just nut suarez." She later deleted the tweet and wrote: "Sorry if that offended anyone."
Moyes, however, did reveal his fury with Suarez for the second-half foul on Sylvain Distin that earned a yellow card from Andre Marriner. The Uruguayan appeared to catch Distin deliberately down the back of his right leg as he cleared with his left and for Moyes, it warranted a red. "I've got to say he was a really lucky man to stay on the pitch today for his tackle," he said. "If you've not seen the one down the back of his legs, it is definitely [a red]. I've seen the video of the tackle from behind, down Sylvain's leg. That was over the top, it is down the back of the legs."
There is no doubting Suarez's public enemy No 1 status on the blue side of Stanley Park – he scored in two of Liverpool's three victories over Everton last season – and in the second half, he picked up an object that appeared to have been thrown his way from the Gwladys Street end. Yet Moyes went on to suggest Suarez did not help himself with his antics.
"Sometimes the crowd take it from what the players do on the pitch, what the players do on the pitch sometimes has an effect on the crowd," he mused.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool's manager, spoke up in defence of Suarez, saying: "I didn't think it was a red. Sometimes you get that with strikers [making tackles]."
Rodgers responded to talk of Suarez diving by pointing out that Everton's captain, Phil Neville, had earned a booking for falling at the feet of Daniel Agger. "Do you want me to talk about Phil Neville? Don't start me," said Rodgers, although, in mitigation, the Everton captain did apologise when interviewed on Sky afterwards. "I got a good kick up the backside at half-time," he added.
As for the football, Rodgers's frustration at Liverpool's disallowed late strike was tempered by the performance of his young team. When Bill Shankly sent out six derby debutants at Anfield in 1970, Liverpool came from two down to win 3-2 They so nearly managed the same result. Rodgers argued that on top of the disallowed winner, Everton's equaliser came from a throw-in that should have been his team's, but sought to accentuate the positives. He said: "I'm bitterly disappointed. It was a brilliant game and I thought we stepped it up well in the second half. I was disappointed it didn't crown it. We are frustrated but at the same time, I am very proud when I look at my young team today in a real cauldron of an atmosphere and how they stood up to everything against a very, very experienced team. It was another terrific stride forward."
He added: "If you look at the team today, Raheem at 17, Suso at 18, Andre Wisdom 19, Jonjo 20, Joe Allen 21, Jordan 22, all [are] young players that will only grow and get better."
As for Moyes, who has won only four derby matches in his decade at Goodison, there was relief at his side's late let-off. "It was a goal, I have to say. I didn't think it was a foul on Gerrard. That was the wrong decision but it was also the wrong decision not to give the goal."
Ultimately it was a point gained from a losing position, and keeps Everton six points clear of their rivals in 12th place.
STEVEN NAISMITH believes Everton FC should have grabbed a derby victory after fighting their way back in thrilling fashion from conceding two early goals.
The Scotland international’s first Blues strike put David Moyes’ men back on level pegging at Goodison, and Naismith reckons their subsequent dominance meant they should have taken three points.
Naismith, 26, insists Everton must take the positives from their spirited response to a Leighton Baines’ own goal and Luis Suarez strike – and hopes his own contribution will be the first of many.
He said: “We’re probably sitting there a wee bit disappointed with a 2-2 draw because we did so well in the second half of the first half. We were looking to win it, not draw, but the fight back shows the character in the squad.
“It wasn’t a great first 20 minutes to go 2-0 down. The game hadn’t really started and we didn’t start well, so to be 2-0 down was tough. But I’ve played in enough derbies to know it can all change in an instant and a great strike from Ossie turned it and gave us the momentum. Then I’ve managed to get a goal which helped the cause. From then to half time we were the team pushing. If the half had lasted longer I think we’d have been the team to get the next goal.”
The former Rangers forward was nickname ‘Kid Goals’ at his first club Kilmarnock and was relieved to have opened his account on Merseyside.
“I’m getting a bit old to be ‘Kid Goals’ but scoring is the best part of the game,” he said.
“I love doing it. I got my fair share at Rangers so at least I’m off the mark now for Everton and I can build on it.
“When you’ve got guys like Kevin (Mirallas), Felli and Jelavic you know they’re going to put the ball in there so you’ve just got to gamble and if you don’t get in there you’re never going to score. I grew up a Rangers fan so scoring in an Old Firm derby was special and it’s difficult to compare but scoring in front of the Gwladys Street was great – I’ll certainly remember it.
“I only found out I was playing in the morning but it was good to get a start. With Vic being injured and Pienaar missing out I knew my chances of starting were improved. For me this first period is about settling in and getting used to the training as well as coming back from injury. I never came expecting to play every week but I work hard every day to get back to where I was before and this was just another step towards that.”
Naismith said that losing the excellent Mirallas to injury for the second half was a huge blow to Everton’s plans.
He said: “It was hard to lose him. Kevin had been our main direct threat in terms of driving at defenders and it showed with the amount of chances he was creating for himself and others. That was a blow but Liverpool changed their system in the second half as well which changed things and it became a bit scrappy with a lot of fouls, and the game kept getting stopped which didn’t help.
“The manager won’t be too happy with the goals we lost but looking back there was some great play form us too – switching sides and with Kevin being a massive threat creating chances.
Liverpool were aggrieved by a last-ditch Luis Suarez strike which was wrongly ruled offside, but Naismith insisted Everton fully deserved at least a point.
“We’ve been on the other side of that a few times this season,” he said of the Uruguayan’s disallowed goal. “Newcastle at Goodison and Wigan away when decisions went against us and over the course of the season it measures itself out.
“I’ve had that experience of derby games. It’s about who wants it more and I think we showed that we wanted it.”
Suarez celebrated his goal by diving in front of the Everton dug-out in response to Moyes’ pre-match assertion that referee Andre Marriner should be wary of the forward’s tendency to go to ground easily. But Naismith shared his manager’s relaxed view of the incident, and hailed the Blues defence for their handling of the former Ajax striker.
“It’s part of football,” he said. “It’s probably his way of trying to get back at the manager. I thought the defence mostly showed their quality afterwards of keeping him quiet.”