Everton 3 Liverpool 3: Rodgers fumes over Mirallas’ tackle on Suarez
Everton 3 Liverpool 3: Brendan Rodgers blasts referee Phil Dowd for not sending off Kevin Mirallas in the first half
Brendan Rodgers was adamant that Everton’s Kevin Mirallas should have been sent off in the first half after watching Liverpool come away from a thrilling Merseyside derby with a point.
The Belgium international was shown a yellow card by referee Phil Dowd for a reckless lunge on Luis Suarez at Goodison Park and Rodgers was furious that the “career-threatening” challenge only earned the midfielder a caution.
“I thought Mirallas should have been sent off,” Rodgers told BT Sport. “I’ve seen it again and it was a really poor challenge.
“It would have been interesting if it had been Luis Suarez who made the challenge, what the outcome would have been.
“It was nowhere near the ball – he’s gone at his knee and for a period of 10-15 minutes after that Luis was really struggling.
“They’re career-threatening challenges which we’re trying to eradicate from the game. It was a poor, poor challenge and definitely should have been a red card.”
An 89th-minute Daniel Sturridge header earned the Reds a dramatic draw in a pulsating game after Romelu Lukaku’s double had put the Toffees 3-2 ahead.
Philippe Coutinho gave Liverpool the lead early in the first half but Everton drew level through Mirallas shortly after.
Suárez’s low free-kick then restored Liverpool’s advantage, before Lukaku’s second-half double made it 3-2 with eight minutes to go.
But substitute Sturridge headed home one minute from time to earn the Reds a point and keep them in second place in the table.
“It was terrific game,” said Rodgers. “I’ve been involved in a few of these now and they’re real heart-stoppers.
“We scored terrific goals and then they came back well. Then we fell behind and we showed yet again our resilience and our mentality to fight back.
“This is a difficult place to come – they haven’t lost here in this calendar year. We went 2-1 up and should have got another to kill the game.
“There was some wonderful attacking football and if we had gone 3-1 up that probably would have allowed us to control it more.
“Then we went through a spell when we couldn’t keep the ball, we were too loose in possession. That let them back into the game and they ended up getting the equaliser.
“It was disappointing defending from the corner – Lukaku’s got a great header but we’ve got to be stronger than that defensively.
“But the resilience to keep going and actually maybe we could have had one or two more goals scored.
“All in all, it was a wonderful game and when you come to one of your rivals it’s very important you don’t lose if you can’t win, so we’ll take a point and move on.”
The point keeps Liverpool in second place in the Premier League table, and Rodgers insists he is encouraged by what he has seen of his side so far this term.
“There’s a long way to go and there are some great teams up there,” he continued. “I think think what we’re showing is that character, resilience and quality.
“That’s a mark of a team that’s going to be up there challenging and at the moment that’s what we’re trying to do. We feel that we’re improving all the time.”