Tommy Smith: Benitez
wrong to criticise Gerrard
I was disappointed to hear that Rafa
Benitez pulled Steven Gerrard off in the derby because “he
was playing with too much passion”.
The Liverpool skipper is a natural footballer. Imagine what
the team would be like if he, and Jamie Carragher for that
matter, did not show passion.
Was Gerrard’s burst down the middle which subsequently led
to a penalty passion, or was he just being a footballer? I
would say it was the act of a passionate footballer.
The most important aspects of the game are ability and
passion. If the skipper lacked passion he would come in for
criticism; if he lacked ability he would also take stick.
But he has both attributes by the bundle – and this was a
derby match, for goodness sake, where passion is essential.
If it had been me hauled off when I thought I was making a
contribution, I would have had a go at the manager. I felt
for Gerrard, especially as he was showing glimpses of what
we expect of him.
I was bewildered by Benitez’s reason for taking Gerrard off.
Granted, Lucas Leiva played a crucial part in the incident
which led to the second penalty, but the manager was talking
about having someone to calm things down when I felt we
needed someone to lift the game.
It was one of a few decisions that led to controversy and
anger in the aftermath of a derby that had enough incidents
– two dismissals, two penalties and an own goal – to provide
sufficient discussion until the next game at Anfield.
But referee Mark Clattenburg saw to it that he, rather than
the players, would become the centre of attention.
I think he got both penalties for the Reds spot on and made
the right decisions for the dismissals.
But he got it wrong over Dirk Kuyt. His feet were off the
floor and, while he might have changed his mind about the
tackle, it was two-footed and he had to go.
If I was an Evertonian I would have been a little wild about
that decision, and possibly wilder about the
Carragher-Lescott incident. That was a penalty, too.
I was happy to be a Liverpudlian and take the three points,
when we only got one last season from the two games.
Everton were robbed but, as we have seen it all before,
these things happen. They finished with nine men but deserve
a pat on the back for finishing with a flurry, which should
have led to a third spot kick.
Lawrenson: Derby victory
may be good omen for Liverpool
Liverpool Daily Post
For the rest of this week, Liverpool and
Everton will have to adhere to the old cliche about derbies
being one-off occasions when the form book goes out of
They have big games in Europe and dwelling on events at
Goodison won’t help the preparation one bit.
Liverpool might have won but it was one of those days when
they didn’t play particularly well and got away with it.
When it was 11 against 11 they were second best and didn’t
really create much.
And if you can take Steven Gerrard off for committing the
heinous crime of showing passion in a Merseyside derby than
I, for one, have officially given up trying to second guess
what Rafael Benitez will do.
But it ultimately worked out for him and at least he knows
now he doesn’t necessarily have to rely on his captain or
Fernando Torres to steal a win from a tight game.
That’s the fact that will give him the most confidence when
he goes for the victory he needs in Besiktas tomorrow. As
for Everton, the start of their UEFA Cup group campaign
couldn’t have been better timed.
Imagine if they hadn’t made it this far and the had a full
week to wait between the derby defeat and this weekend’s
trip to Derby. It would’ve been agony. As it is, they don’t
have long to wait to get over the result and they’ll be
desperate to make amends for what they feel was daylight
robbery against Liverpool.
All they need to do is play at the same tempo and with the
same philosophy and they should kick off with a much-needed
peace with Gerrard
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has today
cleared the air with Steven Gerrard over replacing him in
Saturday's Merseyside derby after the midfielder had
declared he was "hurt and disappointed" by
With 20 minutes left at Goodison Park and the clash finely
poised at 1-1, the Reds manager controversially replaced his
skipper with Lucas Leiva - much to the surprise of Gerrard
and the travelling support.
The Spaniard claimed afterwards he had made the switch
because his side needed "less passion" and the change was
vindicated when the Brazilian's shot was handled by Phil
Neville on the line to give Liverpool a last-minute penalty,
which Dirk Kuyt duly converted.
Benitez discussed the matter with Liverpool-born Gerrard at
the club's training ground in Melwood today and believes the
midfielder's reaction was perfectly natural.
He told Liverpoolfc.tv: "When you are a manager you need to
make decisions, not just think about them. You must think
how you can win the game. Every player is the same for me
when you are trying to win a game.
"We have talked because every player would be disappointed,
especially Gerrard because it was a derby. He wanted to
score the winning goal, but he is okay. After some time
he'll understand that it was an idea and I was thinking
about the best for the team.
"You know when you change a player he must show that he
wants to play, but I think he was okay at the end."
Petition to ban derby referee
By Greg O'Keeffe - Liverpool Echo
Everton fans have launched an internet
petition calling for the banning of controversial derby day
ref Mark Clattenburg from officiating at Premier League
Blues supporters blame him for the defeat, during which he
refused to award Everton a penalty in the final minutes of
He further angered Everton supporters by not sending off
Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt for a two-footed airborne
challenge on Blues skipper Phil Neville.
David Moyes was heavily critical of Clattenburg, who is
highly rated by the FA, in his post-match interview.
Now hundreds of football fans have signed the online
petition which calls for the ban on Clattenburg.
It says: “We the undersigned ask the Football Association to
ban Mark Clattenburg for life from refereeing in the Premier
League. He gave a penalty for a foul committed outside the
“He gave a yellow card to the Liverpool player after his
unsportsmanlike tackle on the Everton player, a tackle which
according to the rules should result a direct red card.
“And in the dying moments of the game he refused to give a
penalty to Everton after an obvious foul on the Everton
player inside the box.”
Laura McDonald from Liverpool wrote: “He is a disgrace to
the profession; even a half blind pensioner would have done
a better job refereeing the match.”
But one fan using the name of Reds legend Jan Molby, said:
“Mr Clattenburg – you are a legend sir.”
'Victory eased my derby pain’
By Tony Barrett - Liverpool Echo
Steven Gerrard today told how the joy of
Liverpool’s last gasp win over Everton helped ease the pain
of being taken off in Saturday’s derby.
The Liverpool skipper was visibly stunned at being
substituted – a decision which Rafa Benitez says was made
for the good of the team on the day.
Despite being “hurt and disappointed” at being withdrawn,
Gerrard insists the important thing was that Liverpool went
on to win the game and avenge last season’s 3-0 reverse at
the hands of their local rivals.
He said: “I’m a local lad so the derby is really important
to me and I would have liked nothing better than to play the
full game and to be on the pitch when we got the winner.
“But as it turned out I was taken off and Lucas Leiva who
replaced me played a crucial role in us getting the winning
“I was hurt and disappointed at being taken off because,
like I said, I’m a local lad and the derby means everything
“I’ll be speaking to the manager about it just to find out
why I was substituted, but I won’t be banging on his door or
anything like that.
“We’ll just have a chat and whatever is said will remain
between us. But I’ve been in the game long enough to know
that no-one is going to play every minute of every game and
there will be times when I’m taken off like everyone else.
“The most important thing is that we won the game.
“When we lost there last season it left a bad feeling that
didn’t go away for quite some time, so it is good to get
that out of our systems.”
Gerrard also thanked the Liverpool fans for the support they
gave him at Goodison Park as he bids to rediscover his best
He said: “The way the fans got behind me was fantastic and I
“I know I haven’t been at my best lately but I’m doing
everything I can to get back there and having that kind of
backing really does make a difference.
“I’m working back towards my best and knowing the fans are
behind me will definitely help me get there much quicker.”
admits Mersey luck
Dirk Kuyt has admitted he was 'a bit lucky' to not have
been sent off in an incident-packed 206th Merseyside derby
Liverpool won a pulsating match 2-1, with Kuyt scoring the
winning penalty in the second minute of added time to add to
his earlier strike from the spot.
But the Liverpool striker was lucky to still be on the pitch
after receiving only a yellow card for his lunge at Phil
Neville, despite protests from the Everton players and
manager David Moyes.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez insisted Kuyt was "trying to
block the ball, not connect with the player", while Kuyt
himself insisted there was no malice.
The Dutchman said: "People saw the TV and said my booking
looks bad. But I was just trying to make a tackle and I did
not want to touch the player, and I didn't.
"Maybe I was a bit lucky, but I never had any intention of
trying to hit the player, it was a yellow card and I accept
But Everton's veteran defender Alan Stubbs believed the
lunge deserved a straight red, saying: "That was a
two-footed lunge. If a player leaves the ground with both
feet, that's a red card, and he gets a yellow.
"In the laws of the game if a player goes in with two feet
and makes a lunge, and that is what it was, it's a red."
Stubbs was also upset that Steven Gerrard appeared to
influence referee Mark Clattenburg's decision to send off
Tony Hibbert for bringing the Liverpool captain down in the
"The referee went to book Tony Hibbert holding a yellow
card, their player (Gerrard) walks past him (the referee)
and it's changed to a red," said Stubbs.
The veteran defender was also upset that no penalty was
awarded when Jamie Carragher appeared to haul Joleon Lescott
to the ground as Everton fought for an equaliser deep into
Stubbs added: "If the referee looks at the decision again he
will see the penalty appeal was right. Their lad had his
arms all around Joleon, what was he supposed to do?
"And Benitez has gone on TV saying he was diving, but just
look at it, that's a stone-wall penalty."
fumes at referee
By Peter O'Rourke - Sky Sports
Everton boss David Moyes was left fuming
following his side's controversial 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
The Toffees finished the game with just nine men after Tony
Hibbert and Phil Neville conceded penalties which Dirk Kuyt
scored to give Liverpool the victory.
Hibbert was sent off after being adjudged to have brought
down Steven Gerrard inside the box, while Neville was given
his marching orders for handling Lucas Levia's shot on the
Moyes felt Hibbert's sending off was debatable and also
despaired at his side's failure to win a penalty of their
own late on when Joleon Lescott went down in the box under
pressure from Jamie Carragher.
Moyes was not happy with the performance of referee Mark
Clattenburg feeling his side had been hard done by.
"I am not sure the first incident was a penalty. It was a
coming together of two players and Gerrard's arm goes across
Hibbert before there is any contact," bemoaned Moyes.
"Gerrard slipped and Hibbert did not make a tackle.
"The referee pulled out a yellow card and then the Liverpool
captain has a word with him and it becomes a red.
"Decisions are made, they happen, that is football. But in
the last seconds of the game there is the chance for it to
be corrected and it would have been a result Everton
"We deserved that penalty if not more, and if the other
penalties were more blatant than that, then I am in the
"I am seemingly seeing football differently. If the referee
does not see that you have got to ask why. Maybe they should
not be there."
He added: "We train every day, we know what decisions should
be and the referee does not give it. That is beyond
everything I can imagine.
"Referees do their job as best they can, I have tried very
hard in the past year not to talk about referees. We have
had referees into training and we are very supportive.
"They have a tough job, but do they understand how tough my
job is and what it would have meant for us to get those
points in the bag?
"There are now a couple of players banned. We understand
what happened to Phil Neville, that was correct but we got
no decisions at all.
"It can't just be me being bitter, people asked was the
referee biased and I can't comment but we got nothing at
"I felt we were better than Liverpool. On another day we
would have got another result, we did not play well but then
Liverpool are not where they want to be either.
"Even down to nine men we still had the chance of a penalty
and we did not get it. A win would have pushed us into the
top half of the league because of crucial decisions going
By Peter O'Rourke - Sky Sports
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez felt his side
deserved their dramatic 2-1 win over Everton at Goodison
Dirk Kuyt's last-gasp penalty earned
Liverpool the derby spoils against nine-man Everton to get
Benitez's men back to winning ways after a poor run of form.
Everton were gifted the lead in the first half when Sami
Hyypia put through his own net when he volleyed the ball
past Jose Reina.
Tony Hibbert was sent off on 54 minutes when he brought down
Steven Gerrard inside the box and Kuyt scored from the
The home side were reduced to nine men in the final minute
when Phil Neville handled Lucas Levia's shot on the line and
Kuyt kept his nerve to score from the spot to give Liverpool
Asked if his side deserved to win, Benitez said: "I think
so. They were playing long balls and we were trying to pass.
"We were trying to go forward, creating chances with the
ball on the ground.
"They were using long balls and trying to keep the ball
high. It was difficult."
Benitez shrugged off Everton's late penalty claim when
Joleon Lescott appeared to be wrestled to the ground by
Jamie Carragher in the dying seconds.
"In England you don't like to see players diving so it was a
surprise to me," continued Benitez.
The Spaniard surprisingly substituted Gerrard for Lucas with
20 minutes remaining and he believes his gamble paid off.
"In this game, sometimes you need to play with the brain and
we were playing with heart," noted Benitez.
"We needed to keep the ball and pass the ball."
By JP Lonergan - Setanta Sports
Dirk Kuyt struck twice form the penalty
spot as Liverpool came from behind to defeat Everton 2-1 in
Saturday’s Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, the hosts
ending the game with nine men.
An own goal from Sami Hyypia had given The Toffees a
half-time lead, but Kuyt twice profitted as referee Mark
Clattenburg sent both Tony Hibbert and Phil Neville off and
the Dutchman found the net from both spot-kicks, the second
Everton were then incensed as Jamie Carragher looked to have
hauled Joleon Lescott to the floor in the dying seconds and,
not for the first time, Clattenburg waved their penalty
appeal away, as The Reds held on for a fortunate victoy in
what had been an open and ultimately dramatic game.
Rafel Benitez started with Andriy Voronin and Dirk Kuyt in
attack and Peter Crouch on the bench. Fernando Torres and
fellow Spaniard Xabi Alonso did not make the sixteen after
failing to overcome their respective injuries.
Phil Jagielka was named in the Everton midfield at the
expense of Lee Carsely, while Ayegbini Yakubu partnered
Victor Anichebe in attack. Scotland star James McFadden was
on the bench, but Andy Johnson is injured and Tim Cahill was
not yet risked as his long-awaited return to the side looms.
It was the visitors who made the initial surge in the game
and Ukraine hit-man Andriy Voronin had a gilt-edged chance
to give them the lead after just five minutes.
A mix-up between Hibbert and Joseph Yobo allowed Yossi
Benayoun some room on the left of the Everton area and after
turning back on to his right foot, the Israel man played in
Voronin at the edge of the area, but his shot was tame and
straight at Tim Howard.
Voronin had another chance minutes later, but his awful
effort from 20 yards sailed over the bar after he powered
onto the loose ball, following a Steven Gerrard free.
After a quiet start, Everton then began to come into the
game with Leon Osman impressing in midfield and his daring
run into the Reds area left Hyypia in his wake and he looked
to pick Yakubu out with his cross, but Jose Reina got a
crucial touch to clear the danger.
Osman then tried his luck with a speculative volley from
outside the box after Neville’s throw was cleared and as
Everton’s momentum continued to grow, striker Anichebe
headed just over from Mikel Arteta’s sweet free-kick from
As Liverpool tried to respond, Gerrard shifted a free-kick
into the path of John Arne Riise and his powerful effort
deflected behind for a corner. But, The Reds could not
punish Everton with the set-piece and very shortly found
themselves behind after failing to deal with their own
corner to defend.
Carragher got his head to Arteta’s inswinger, but only drove
it wide of the area where Alan Stubbs rescued it and sent
the ball back in towards the six-yard box. Lescott’s header
was not the strongest, but as Hyypia went to clear it away,
he succeeded only in slicing it into his own net to the
delight of the home supporters.
Lescott’s part in the goal clearly geed him up and the
newly-capped England man nearly created another when he
surged up the left flank and sent the ball across the edge
of the area, from where an instinctive Osman effort went
just to the left of Reina’s goal.
Kuyt had barely been in the game in the first half, but
Benitez left his team as it was at the start of the second
period and was rewarded when the Dutchman levelled the score
nine minutes in, albeit in controversial circumstances.
After an initial good start to the half for The Toffees,
with Arteta and Lescott impressing, they left far too much
space at the back as Gerrard took the ball from Benayoun and
burst forward from his own half. Hibbert was the last man
back and tugged at Gerrard, bringing the England man to the
ground from what looked to be outside the area.
However, Clattenburg awarded the penalty and then after
initially having a yellow card in his hand, pulled out the
red after further complaint from Gerrard.
Hibbert walked and Kuyt stepped up to send Howard the wrong
way with the coolest of penalties.
Neville dropped back to right back and with the score level,
the game heated up, David Moyes raging that his side were
not given a penalty of their own as Lescott looked to been
tugged by Steve Finnan.
Riise then shot over after being picked out by Kuyt, Reina
held a clever Yakubu effort and Howard did well to keep out
a Voronin chance before Kuyt headed the rebound over as the
game stretched from one end of the field to the other.
Then, Hyypia, who was having a tough game, was easily
outmuscled by Anichebe. The young Nigerian played in Yakubu
to send a powerful effort just wide, though Reina looked to
have had it covered.
Gerrard sent an effort from outside the area straight into
Howard’s hands and then to everyone’s surprise - no one more
than his own - was withdrawn for the inexperienced Brazilian
Lucas Leiva, with Ryan Babel also on for Benayoun, whose
influence on the game had wained.
The visitors upped the pressure and after doing the hard bit
by going past Neville and Yobo, Voronin sent an awful shot
wide of Howard’s goal. Sissoko then spurned a good chance
from the right of the six-yard box before Voronin headed
Finnan’s perfect cross off target with time running out.
Stubbs sent a powerless free wide as Everton earned some
respite, but there was still time for the most dramatic of
An intense few moments saw a Javier Mascherano shot blocked
and sub Jermaine Pennant setting up Voronin from the
rebound. Howard saved Voronin’s effort at point blank range,
with the loose ball falling to Lucas, who drove goalward
only for Neville to turn it away with his hand.
He walked as he did two years ago when Everton also finished
with nine and Kuyt scored from the spot for the second time,
though on this occasion, Howard almost kept it out.
There was still time for controversy as with the hosts
frantically chasing an equaliser, Lescott was brought
crashing to the ground six yards out by the just-booked
Clattenburg, however, astonishingly waved the claims away
and blew his whistle to signal the end and three points for
Liverpool, whose title chase is back on track – just.