Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Gerrard: Comments were harsh

Steven Gerrard admits he was wrong to disrespect Everton
Steven Gerrard admits he was wrong to disrespect Everton

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has backtracked on his claims that Everton play like Stoke, admitting he went too far with his comments.

The England midfielder spoke immediately after Sunday's controversial 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, where Luis Suarez had an added-time goal wrongly ruled out for offside.

Emotions were running high in the aftermath and Gerrard accepts he overstepped the mark with his opinion. "Just to clarify I've watched the game again, and I've seen some of Everton's matches this season, and what I said in relation to their style of play went too far," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"I was frustrated by the disallowed goal from Luis when I spoke and also some of the things (diving allegations) that have been said about Luis in recent weeks which haven't been fair in my opinion.

"As captain I have a duty to stand up for our players when I feel they are unfairly singled out. But it wasn't my intention to disrespect Everton or Stoke for that matter and I certainly didn't intend any disrespect to their manager or players.

"I have the utmost respect for David Moyes and Tony Pulis and the job they have done at their respective clubs. My main issue was with the goal that wasn't given and that Liverpool did not get the three points I felt we deserved in what was a fantastic derby match."

In his post-match interview at the weekend manager Brendan Rodgers admitted he had changed his tactics to cope with a "direct" Everton who "smashed the ball up to two tall strikers". However, he has since been slightly more conciliatory towards their near-neighbours.

"I believe there was two different styles (on Sunday)," said the Northern Irishman. "This is a club which has been brought up in a certain way of playing, it's history has been defined by the many great managers who have been here. You have to win games but you have to win games playing in a certain style.

"But it is the beauty of the Premier League that there are so many diverse ways of working and playing. Analytically, if you look at Everton and a number of other teams they are more direct and play off the front players. But they (Everton) have players of finesse, players like Leighton Baines and Leon Osman who are terrific footballers.

"There would be a difference in relation to the style (compared with Liverpool) but ultimately for teams it is about performing and getting that winning formula. Certainly for us here there is a way in which we play and a way in which we want to win games and the supporters and history of the club dictate that."

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