Liverpool 4 Everton 0: Gerrard accepts blame for Sturridge penalty miss
Liverpool 4 Everton 0: Steven Gerrard accepts the blame for Daniel Sturridge's penalty miss after an emphatic win
Steven Gerrard accepted the blame for Daniel Sturridge’s penalty miss after the Reds were emphatic winners against local rivals Everton at Anfield.
The Reds captain, playing in his 31st Merseyside derby, made the breakthrough in the 21st minute after escaping marker Gareth Barry and directing a powerful header into the Everton net.
I’ve scored a hat-trick against Everton… I wanted Daniel to experience the same
Liverpool cemented their lead when Philippe Coutinho fed Sturridge and the England striker scored in his fifth successive game, before the 24-year-old capped a stellar first-half performance with a delicate chip over Tim Howard.
The home side extinguished any chance of unlikely Everton comeback in the 50th minute after Luis Suarez capitalised on Phil Jagielka’s error and kept his composure to slot his finish past the Everton goalkeeper.
Sturridge’s second-half penalty miss took the gloss off an otherwise near-perfect Reds display and Gerrard, who is Liverpool’s regular spot-kick taker, accepted the blame for the Reds striker’s poor effort.
“I take responsibility for that [the penalty miss],” Gerrard told BT Sport. “I’ve scored a hat-trick against Everton and I know what that feeling is like and I wanted Daniel to experience the same.
“But it wasn’t to be. I’m sure the disappointment of not getting his hat-trick will help him strive him on to get a goal against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend – and that’s the plan.”
Asked about his obvious frustration at being substituted with 18 minutes remaining, Sturridge replied: “I apologise if anyone was offended by my reaction.
“I was disappointed to miss the penalty and I felt as if I had let myself down as well as the fans because it was the icing on the cake.
“But it was unfortunate and I was very disappointed with myself and it was nothing to do with any of the players or the manager.”
Gerrard went on to reiterate Liverpool’s top-four ambitions following the dominant win, as well as heaping praise on two-goal hero Sturridge.
“That’s our target. It’s been the target since pre-season. We’ve got two world-class forwards and against anyone we’ve got a chance,” Gerrard added.
“Daniel will be disappointed to miss the penalty but he was absolutely magnificent. He destroyed them in the first half.
“His second goal absolutely killed Everton and knocked the stuffing out of them. We were able to keep our shape and keep punishing them on the counter-attack.”