Everton forward Kevin Mirallas has admitted that he expected to get sent off for a high tackle on Liverpool’s Luis Suarez during the enthralling 3-3 draw at the Goodison Park on Saturday.
Mirallas, who scored one and set up another during the match, went in high and hard on Suarez in the 36th minute but got the man instead of the ball, leaving the Liverpool striker with stud marks on his knee.
Referee Phil Dowd however deemed it fit to punish the high tackle with just a caution, and Mirallas has admitted that he expected to see red instead.
He did however insist that it was an honest challenge for the ball and that there was no malice or ill intention whatsoever.
“When I made the challenge, the first thing I thought was that it was going to be a red card," said Mirallas. "I was genuinely going for the ball, but I know I caught him on the knee and I said sorry straight away.”
Fortunately for the Reds, Suarez was able to continue and play his part in a historic result in another astonishing derby, scoring a sublime free kick to give his side a 2-1 half-time lead.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was however unforgiving in his assessment of the Everton forward’s attempt to get the ball, saying that it was a “naughty” challenge that could end a player’s career.
He also hinted that Dowd might have brandished a red card instead of yellow had it been Suarez who had made the tackle, sparking more controversy in the ongoing debate around the referee’s decision not to dismiss Mirallas.
“I thought Mirallas should have been sent off. It would have been interesting if Luis (Suarez) had made the challenge.
"I have seen Kevin (Mirallas) for a few years and he looks a real honest player, but if you look at it in every way, real time and slow motion, it is a bad challenge,” Rodgers said.
“He caught him on the back of the knee and that can end your career…it wouldn’t matter if it was on Luis or someone else. It was a naughty challenge. You don’t want to see people getting sent off but if they should be then that’s what should happen.”
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