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EVERTON hope Kevin Mirallas will be fit to face Fulham on Saturday after the Belgian international escaped serious injury in a tackle with Luis Suarez during the Merseyside derby.
The 25-year-old was unable to carry on in the second half of Sunday’s 2-2 draw, after suffering pain in his foot following a clumsy challenge by the Uruguayan international forward.
Mirallas left Goodison Park on crutches sparking fears he had suffered a broken metatarsal bone, but initial tests yesterday are believed to have indicated it is not that serious.
The £5.5m summer signing, who has scored three goals since arriving from Olympiakos, will now face a race against time to recover before the trip to Craven Cottage.
Mirallas had already given Everton a scare during international duty with his national side two weeks ago, when he missed some training sessions with an injury concern but recovered to play a part in both Belgium’s games.
Without Steven Pienaar, the forward had helped Everton dominate the later stages of the first half against Liverpool at Goodison, giving young full-back Andre Wisdom a torrid time.
David Moyes will now assess his recovery during the week before deciding whether to pitch him in against Martin Jol’s side, although he will at least have Steven Pienaar back from suspension.
SYLVAIN DISTIN was left disappointed by Everton’s derby draw despite the home side fighting back from two goals down and benefiting from a late blunder by the officials.
The Toffees went into Sunday’s Goodison Park clash as the form team in the city but conceded twice in the first 20 minutes through a Leighton Baines own goal and a header from Luis Suarez.
They quickly hit back courtesy of Leon Osman’s strike, and Steven Naismith equalised with 10 minutes still to go until half-time.
That proved to be the final goal but both teams had chances to win the game, with Suarez seeing an injury-time effort ruled out by an errant offside flag.
Centre-back Distin said: “We look back with a bit of frustration but I guess we’ll be happy after coming back from 2-0 down.
“It’s a draw and we’re disappointed, but that shows the ambition and determination of the lads.
“We once again wanted to win, so right now we feel disappointed. But when you look at the bigger picture, we’ve lost only one game out of nine in the league.”
The result kept Everton six points ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League table, although they were leap-frogged in fourth place by Tottenham.
MAROUANE FELLAINI admits he was not fully fit in the Merseyside derby – but hopes to be at his best in time to help Everton end their frustrating run of draws on Saturday.
The Blues have drawn their last three Premier League games, and the Belgian midfielder was absent for their previous share of the spoils against QPR at Loftus Road.
Fellaini, 24, was allowed to recover from at home in Belgium a knee injury suffered during the draw with Wigan on October 6, and is glad to be back in action ahead of the weekend’s trip to Craven Cottage.
He said: “I worked hard for two weeks to get back for the derby. I stayed in Belgium for one week’s recovery. I’m not 100 per cent but I gave my maximum today.
“It’s important to win the next game. Everybody wants to win when we go to Fulham.”
The former Standard Liege man said he had mixed feelings over the Blues performance against Liverpool during Sunday’s derby.
“I am happy because we started badly, but we came back and it was a good point in the end,” he said.
“Both teams wanted to win the derby so we are unhappy not to.
“At 2-0 I thought it was finished because it’s hard to come back. But our team has good mentality and good supporters to help us. We could have won or lost.”
Both Fellaini and skipper Phil Neville are now be walking a disciplinary tightrope until the New Year.
Neville was shown a yellow card on the stroke of half-time against Liverpool for an apparent dive – a transgression for which he later made a public apology.
The booking means he joins Marouane Fellaini in being one caution away from a one-match suspension.
Both players could avoid a ban by surviving until the season’s first yellow card amnesty without a further caution.
The amnesty is on Monday, December 31, meaning the pair would need to maintain a clean disciplinary record beyond the visit of Chelsea on Sunday December 30.
“It [diving] was an absolutely stupid thing to have done,” said Neville after the game. “I don’t find myself at that end of the pitch very often.
“I thought Daniel Agger was going to come in behind me and I got a good kick up the backside at half-time and rightly so.
“I put myself under pressure with the yellow card and I couldn’t really make the tackles in the second half.”
Prior to Sunday’s 2-2 draw, Neville saw yellow in games against West Brom, Newcastle and Wigan, while Fellaini accumulated his four bookings against West Brom, Newcastle, Leeds and Wigan.
NEITHER Liverpool FC or Everton FC claimed the ‘bragging rights’ at Goodison Park on Sunday.
But that didn’t stop both sides from trying to claim the tactical high ground.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers claimed that Everton were a long ball team, while Steven Gerrard suggested “only one team came to play football and win the game.”
Everton boss David Moyes, however, was disappointed that his team didn’t go on to win the game, while goalscorer Steven Naismith pointed out that Everton were the only team pressing for a winner while Liverpool relied on counter-attacks.
But what do the stats say?
Did Everton try to punt their way to victory, or were Liverpool lucky to hang on?
The impressively analytical English Premier League Index covered every pass, punt and tackle of Sunday’s 219th Merseyside derby.
And their stats showed that while Brendan Rodgers is trying to construct a Liverpool team which dominates possession and passes teams into submission, they had to settle for second best at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Everton recorded significantly better passing stats than their visitors, attempting 478 passes to their neighbours’ 357, and making over a hundred accurate passes more than the Reds (359 to 257).
Everton made twice as many crosses into the box, created more chances and forced their opponents into more tackles.
And while Liverpool also made almost three times as many backpasses as Everton, this probably highlights Brendan Rodgers’ desire for his side to build from the back, passing the ball across the backline rather than asking Brad Jones to kick the ball from his hands (although Tim Howard recorded a 59% pass completion rate, while Jones was just 38 per cent – and Howard actually made more open play passes than his rival).
The difference in the sides’ respective attacking styles was highlighted in the stats.
Only 39% of Everton’s passes were forward, with 26% passed to the left – trying to utilise the strengths of Leighton Baines – and 24% to the right.
It proved a successful tactic in terms of creating crossing opportunities, with Everton firing 34 crosses compared to just 17 from the Reds.
Some 32% of Everton’s crosses were accurate – including one from Marouane Fellaini which found Steven Naismith for the equaliser – while Liverpool’s crossing accuracy was a disappointing 11%.
But getting the ball wide wasn’t Everton’s solitary tactic.
The Blues played 40 long passes throughout the afternoon, presumably attempting to utilise the aerial strengths of Marouane Fellaini, while Liverpool hit 26, more so in the second half as they defended deeper and tried to use Sterling and Suarez’s pace on the counter. But while Everton attempted more long passes, their attacking third stats were also revealing.
Everton successfully completed 100 of 154 attempted passes in Liverpool’s final third, with Liverpool completing 63 of their 103 attempted passes in Everton’s final third.
That suggests if Everton did try to get the ball into Liverpool’s final third early, it often stuck and allowed them to build further attacking moves in that area.
Of course the only statistic which mattered in the end was the final score, which read Everton two goals Liverpool two goals.
Until the next time.
And for that we’ve got to wait until May 4.
THE feud between David Moyes and Luis Suarez raged on last night — fuelled by Moyes’ daughter!
The Everton manager’s lass Lauren slammed Liverpool striker Suarez for taunting her father with an outrageous celebratory dive during Sunday’s 2-2 Merseyside derby draw.
The student tweeted: “Very surprised my dad didn’t just nut Suarez.”
Her outburst came after the Uruguayan ace marked Liverpool’s opener by sprinting towards Moyes and throwing himself to the floor.
Moyes had previously criticised Suarez for going down too easily, saying: “I think he has got history.
“It will turn supporters away from football if they think people are conning their way to results.”
But while Moyes kept his cool, Lauren saw red. And while she deleted her message an hour later, it had already been retweeted more than 700 times.
She later tweeted: “Sorry if I offended anyone #caughtinthemoment.”
Perhaps she had been cheered by Leon Osman and Steven Naismith earning Everton a point.
STEVEN GERRARD has launched a stunning post-derby attack on Everton by dubbing them a long-ball team who play like Stoke.
And in a double swipe he insisted David Moyes dropped a clanger in trying to wind up Luis Suarez by complaining about the Uruguayan’s diving antics.
Gerrard was still fuming at referee Andre Marriner’s incorrect decision to rule out a last-gasp Suarez goal for offside.
It would have handed Liverpool a 3-2 Goodison win, after the Toffees fought back from two down — and the Kop skipper reckons it would have been fully justified, as they were the only side trying to play football.
Gerrard rapped: “I feel sorry for our lads because I thought we were fantastic.
“Everton are effective because they have some big physical lads in the team and are very direct. They are effective but the only team who tried to play football was us.
“Everton are not better than us and I thought we stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke. Every single time they get the ball it comes in long.
“We had a young, small team but they were all men and stood together — and we deserved the win.”
Gerrard was so incensed at linesman Simon Bennett’s incorrect flag that he made a beeline to quiz the officials after the final whistle.
He added: “We can feel sorry for ourselves because it was a clear goal. There is no offside. I asked the linesman after the game if it was offside and he said, ‘I think so’ but 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.”
While the officials boobed in that instance, Gerrard reckons Goodison gaffer Moyes did likewise in playing mind games by highlighting Suarez’s diving yet again.
Suarez responded with a comedy swan dive at the feet of the home boss after Liverpool’s opener, and Gerrard said: “He doesn’t need 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.
“It seems to inspire him rather than go against him.”
Everton skipper Phil Neville WAS booked for simulation on Sunday.
And Gerrard said: “Neville badly let his manager down. Moyes did every paper, radio station and TV channel talking about Suarez. Then his captain, who is meant to set an example, blatantly dives.”
Gerrard praised Liverpool whizkid Raheem Sterling on his derby debut. He said: “Sterling was fantastic and has been a revelation for us.
“To be 17, away in a derby, in a cauldron of an atmosphere against a physical long-ball team — he was outstanding.
“You wonder whether the younger players have the bottle to play away against tough teams in tough situations, but he handled it superbly.”
Steven Gerrard has launched a scathing attack on Merseyside rivals Everton – claiming they are long-ball merchants, like Stoke City.
Many people had said that the Blues had the better team going into Sunday’s incident-packed derby, which ended in a 2-2 draw at Goodison.
But Reds captain Gerrard was having none of it – and was unsparing in his assessment of the Toffees’ tactics.
He said: “There was only one team who came into the derby trying to play football - Everton are not better than us.
“Everton are effective because they have some big physical lads in the team and are very direct. They are effective. But the only team who tried to play football was us.
“I thought we stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke - every single time they get the ball at the goalkeeper, it comes in long.
“We had a young small team and they were all men and stood together. We deserved the win.”
Gerrard was in abrasive mood after the disappointment of seeing Luis Suarez’s injury-time winner wrongly ruled out for offside.
Not only did the England midfielder dismiss the Goodison club’s approach on the pitch, he also questioned their actions off it - particularly the demonisation of Suarez.
Gerrard feels Everton boss David Moyes tried to influence ref Andre Marriner by suggesting that the Uruguayan’s diving antics were driving fans away from the game.
But those comments returned to haunt Moyes when Marriner booked a player for diving - Blues skipper Phil Neville.
So Gerrard had more than raised eyebrows when he pointedly said: “David Moyes was trying to get in the referee’s head with what he said about Luis.
“That is fine, that’s all part of the game, stuff like that, but 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 it.”
Gerrard is adamant that Moyes got it wrong about Suarez anyway.
In targeting the South American, he believes the Everton boss simply inspired Suarez, and was lucky not to be punished even further, when the striker’s legitimate goal was ruled out by an erroneous offside flag.
“There is no offside and it’s difficult for me to explain it. The only person who can is the linesman," he said.
"I asked him 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’ we’re in trouble."
Gerrard also offered a warning to the other managers who, according to Moyes, are concerned about the striker’s diving.
“The disallowed goal doesn’t detract from Luis’ performance. He was fantastic for us again,” he added.
“He doesn’t need David Moyes to fire him up. But if people want to try to get in his head and wind him up then it’s the wrong thing to do.
“You saw from the match that it seems to inspire him rather than go against him.”
STEVEN Naismith wants to become an Everton regular after scoring his first goal for the club.
The Scotland midfielder was a free transfer signing from Rangers in July.
He scored the Toffees’ equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
It was just his third start for the club and he said: “At least I’m off the mark now for Everton and I can build on it.
“This first period is about settling in and getting used to the training.
“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.”
Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard has launched a stinging attack on Everton as a “long-ball team who play like Stoke” as the fallout to an acrimonious Merseyside derby continues.
Gerrard demonstrated the irritation in the Anfield ranks following pre-match comments aimed at Luis Suárez by Everton manager David Moyes in delivering a biting assessment of his city rivals.
He also condemned the dive of Phil Neville, which resulted in a yellow card, during the 2-2 draw, although both the Everton captain and manager admitted the foolishness of that particular incident immediately after the game.
Gerrard’s most provocative remarks were directed at Everton’s style of play.
“There was only one team who came into the derby trying to play football,” said the Liverpool midfielder.
“I thought we stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke. Every single time they get the ball at the goalkeeper it comes in long.
“Everton are effective because they have some big physical lads in the team and are very direct. They are effective. But the only team who tried to play football was us. Everton are not better than us.
"Everton were very direct and were getting on the second balls. The plan in the second half was to go 3-5-2 and try to stop the long balls coming in.
“Once we stopped that we passed through Everton and looked very dangerous on the break.
“We had a young, small team and they were all men and stood together. We deserved the win.”
With so much attention on Suárez’s reputation for allegedly attempting to fool officials, Gerrard could not resist a swipe at Neville for the booking he received.
“I think Phil Neville badly let his manager down,” he said.
“His manager did every paper, every radio station and every TV channel talking about Luis Suárez 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 it.
“With what he said about Luis Suárez 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, but you don’t expect your captain to dive like that.
“Luis Suárez was fantastic for us again. I can’t control what he does when he scores a goal, I was just happy to see it hit the back of the net. He doesn’t need David Moyes to fire him up. But if people want to try to get in Luis’s head and wind him up then it’s the wrong thing to do.
“You saw that it seems to inspire him rather than go against him.”
Gerrard also attacked the decision to disallow Suárez’s injury time goal.
“I’ve seen it again and we can feel sorry ourselves because it was a clear goal,” he said.
“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 gives us the throw but the referee saw something different.
“He gave Everton the throw and their second goal came from that.”
Gerrard reserved special praise for teenager Raheem Sterling, who handled the intensity of the occasion.
“I thought Sterling was fantastic. He has been a revelation for us,” said Gerrard.
“To be 17 years of age away in a derby in a cauldron in an atmosphere like this against a big physical, long-ball team, I thought he was outstanding.
“I don’t think the Everton players would have known too much about Raheem Sterling before Sunday. But I think they are going to be seeing an awful lot of him in the future.
"He is going to be playing in many, many Merseyside derbies. He is going to have a major impact in them.
“Even when he was through on goal, when he matures a little bit and gets a bit more composure into his game, that will come. We’ve all been there.
“He is going to be one of the top players in the league, there’s no doubt about it.
“The way he stands up for himself, wants the ball and doesn’t hide. It’s a credit to himself.
“He has some bottle. That’s what you look for in young lads. You wonder whether they have the bottle to play away against tough teams in tough situations, and he handled it superbly.”
STEVEN GERRARD has hit out at Everton captain Phil Neville for diving and told the former Manchester United player he let his club down during the Merseyside derby.
Neville, 35, received a yellow card for a blatant dive during Sunday’s incident-packed 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
Everton manager David Moyes said before the game that he was concerned about Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s history of diving, but it was Neville who was forced to apologise.
“His manager did every paper, every radio station and every TV channel talking about Luis Suarez,” said Liverpool captain Gerrard.
“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 it.
“With what he said about Luis Suarez before, David Moyes was trying to get in the referee’s head.
“That’s all part of the game, stuff like that – but you don’t expect your captain to dive like that.
“I think Phil Neville badly let his manager down.” Neville later apologised for the dive and said he had been “stupid”.
“I put myself under pressure with the yellow card. I won’t do it again, that’s for sure,” he added.
In addition to Neville, Gerrard was also critical of the long-ball tactics employed by Everton and compared Liverpool’s neighbours to Stoke.
“There was only one team who came into this derby game trying to play football,” said the England captain. “Everton are effective because they have some big, physical lads in the team and are very direct. They are effective.
“But the only team who tried to play football was us. I thought we stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke.
“Every single time they get the ball at the goalkeeper it comes in long.”
Everton are fifth in the table, six points clear of 12th-placed Liverpool, but Gerrard believes the promising group of young talent at Anfield means the future is bright.
Raheem Sterling, 17, Suso, 18, and Andre Wisdom, 19, all started at Goodison while Jonjo Shelvey, 20, came on as a half-time substitute.
“They were all men and stood together. We deserved to win,” said Gerrard.